How do students de-stress?

Given recent reporting on graduate student mental health, we decided to put together this page to act as a resource for grad students to see what their peers do to maintain a sense of balance. Whether or not you are struggling with mental health issues, we hope this page can be of use to you in hearing about what your fellow grad students are up to. And please submit!


“What better way to forget about your academic life than gathering with a great group of people for song, dance, and the martial arts? Capoeira just might be the only activity that combines playing instruments, with doing cartwheels, throwing kicks, and singing in Portuguese. I’ve been practicing for a year now with the Brown Capoeira group. This is currently a Brown sponsored group so it is totally free. Our instructor, Tatu (Armadillo), is fun, gentle, but challenging. This is a very supportive community so even if you aren’t up to doing backflips, you are still more than welcome join us. Even if you are unsure, just come check it out, or shoot me an email:”

~Michael M. (Sociology)

“Meditation with the Brown Meditation Community.”


“I’m a firm believer in the power of meditation to help us live more contently in the present moment. I began my practice in 2006 as a high school student, and have continued on and off over the years. While I do try to practice sitting meditation daily, I find that I’m much more likely to practice some form of meditation in motion, whether it be walking to and from campus, capoeira, or yoga. I’ve recently started up my yoga practice again at Jala Studio on South Main Street. Bristol. The lead teacher and owner of the studio is amazing and knowledgeable. She incorporates yoga philosophy into every class, so this isn’t the place for you if you are solely doing it for the fitness. Regardless of whether you practice yoga, meditation, tai chi, or capoeira, I’d encourage every grad student to do some sort of physical activity which grounds you firmly in your body and the present moment. It will make a world of difference in your life! I promise.”

~Michael M. (Sociology)

“(1) Going to the gym most days of the week is my regular grounding and the thing I look forward to the most. It keeps things in perspective and helps me exercise my body instead of just my mind all day.
(2) Travelling abroad to a new foreign country for ~2 weeks during the summer or winter break is the biggest joy in my life and definitely helps me re-focus and not be so closed-world (in all senses of the word).
(3) Smaller-scale hiking/camping in NH/VT, which I am very new to, has recently been incredibly soul-reinvigorating, much more than I had ever imagined. So, I plan to make this more of a habit.”


Rhode Island

“If you’re a film geek, you’re in a good place! Rhode Island has been the location of many movie sets, including Wes Anderson’s 2012 feature, “Moonrise Kingdom.” Shot mostly around Narragansett Bay, the film uses one tucked away spot in Fort Wetherill National Park in Jamestown, RI for the movie’s iconic secret cove setting. This spot is a 40 minute drive from Brown University, but it’s absolutely worth it. The view over the bay is unmatched, the trails around the old fort are fun, and there are several cliff-side benches and picnic spots to relax, read, or hang out with friends. To reach the film location, follow the path down to the cove (be careful!) and you’ll find an even quieter, more secluded spot. Plus, it’s a national park–so it’s free!”


“They say New England has a certain beauty in the Fall. For me, it’s just a sly reminder of the impending winter. The weather is cooler, so I start to wear sweaters, drink more hot tea and adorn my neck in snugly scarves. To stretch the fall season as much as I can, I plan short day trips with friends. One of my favorite is apple picking. North Scituate has a few apple farms. It’s a short distance from Providence, so we all car-pool (awesome company is what stops me from thinking too much about the upcoming weary winter).
The wind has a little bite to it, but the sun is bright and intense. It’s a 2 hour or more walk around the farm, but you need the exercise anyway.
Best thing about the day? My mind is emptied of grad school worries, I eat apples till I’m full, I get to claim that I’ve exercised for that day.”

~Adeola (Pathobiology)

“The rock climbing gym in Lincoln (Rock Spot) is great, Snookers is a nice pool place, the Brown swing club (which has some regular grad students), and the Aerial arts society.”


Beyond Rhode Island

My favorite things to do are the ones that take me outside of College Hill and remind me that I am part of a non-academic world. Going to the gym down the street from where I live in Pawtucket is my routine way to destress. Exercise should be mandatory! Everyone should find time for this. I also love to go to Providence Place, sometimes with a friend but often alone. Sometimes I’ll even just go there to people-watch or window shop if I am low on cash. If it’s too cold to go out (as it often is) I plug in my speakers, listen to my favorite music and move like I am at a Jamaican Dancehall session. If all else fails, Psychological Services is very helpful. There’s no shame in speaking to a professional.

~Nicosia (Africana Studies)

“I go to a Finnish Sauna to enjoy the steam, dip in the lake in between, or if it’s winter take a roll in the snow, and chat with the locals and international visitors (often Russian) who also stop by. After the steam (and this is a pretty ok traditional Finnish Sauna at least in US standards), if you want, they offer homemade food in a cozy environment.
The place is called the Uljas Koitto Temperance Society and it’s an hour drive away in Massachusetts. Google them and check out the opening hours before you go.”

~Juho (Sociology)