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Stress Relief

Grad students share strategies for taking their minds off work

by Linda Wang
September 14, 2015 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 93, ISSUE 36

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Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
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Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN

Just how bad is grad school stress? Find out here: http://cenm.ag/stress


“I like going to concerts or playing music because it’s a good way to get out of the lab.”

John Ferrie, third-year chemistry grad student at the University of Pennsylvania

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Credit: Courtesy of Timothy Turner
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Credit: Courtesy of Timothy Turner

“Once a day, make time to do absolutely nothing. I’ve found that sitting in a chair in a quiet room without looking at my phone, thinking about my experiments, or talking to anyone for five–10 minutes once a day has improved my outlook.”

Timothy Turner, fifth-year grad student in food microbiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
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Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN

“I go on trips over the weekend with my girlfriend just out in nature or to the shore.”

Miklos Szantai-Kis, third-year chemistry grad student at the University of Pennsylvania


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Credit: Shutterstock
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“I like to read. Late at night, before I head to bed, maybe I’ll read a few chapters of a book that’s not related to science in any way.”

Nicole Antczak, fifth-year chemistry grad studentat Northeastern University


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“I train in Brazilian jujitsu. There’s something weirdly relaxing about someone trying to beat you up.”

Bryan Tuten, fifth-year materials science grad student at the University of New Hampshire


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“Sometimes I take a 10- or 20-minute nap before work, so it helps me refresh myself.”

Jie Gu, fifth-year chemistry grad student at Dartmouth College


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Credit: Courtesy of Annie Greenaway
Credit: Courtesy of Annie Greenaway

“I started painting my nails as stress relief during the lead-up to my advancement-to-candidacy exam. Bringing a small dose of creativity back to my life really helped me manage that stressful time and gave birth to a new hobby that I take a lot of pride in.”

Annie Greenaway, fourth-year chemistry grad student at the University of Oregon


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“I’ve been running ultramarathons for a few years. I can go out and put any frustration into running and not have to sit there and stew in front of my hood. Right now, I’m trying to get ready for a 100-mile run.”

Justin Cole, third-year chemistry grad student at the University of New Hampshire


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“I recently picked up running, and that takes my mind off of things.”

Tolani Kuam Salvador, fifth-year chemistry grad student at Purdue University


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“I take tea breaks and snack breaks during work, and that really helps me get my energy back up.”

Keren Zhang, fourth-year chemistry grad student at Virginia Tech


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Credit: Courtesy of Jordan Axelson

“I’ve been learning to sail out on the Bay and training for 10K races and the occasional zombie obstacle course. These adventures are thrilling and a whole lot of fun, especially when I can share them with friends.”

Jordan Axelson (right), sixth-year chemistry grad student at the University of California, Berkeley


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Credit: Courtesy of Dean Meyer
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Credit: Courtesy of Dean Meyer

“Living away from campus, and being married, has helped me to detach myself from lab.”

Dean Meyer, just earned a Ph.D. in toxicology from the University of Georgia


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Credit: Courtesy of Jill Chipman
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Credit: Courtesy of Jill Chipman

“It’s great to know I can come home to two guinea pigs that need my attention and care. They’re a great break from the lab, grading, or reading the literature.”

Jill Chipman, second-year chemistry grad student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison


Just how bad is grad school stress? Find out here: http://cenm.ag/stress


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