Turn off Your Mind, Relax and Float Downstream

Written by Sam Allen

Stress. It rhymes with “dress”, and it’s monosyllabic. It sucks. It’s so terrible that it makes Rice football look like NCAA championship material by comparison. It’s the bane of college students and responsible adults everywhere. It’s pan-cultural; from Georgetown to Helsinki to Burundi, everyone has his or her fair share (and perhaps more) of stress these days.

Southwestern students are no exception. From our allegedly “third-highest workload in the nation” to the three-dozen organizations each of us seem to be in (UPC! APO! Finnish Heritage Association!) . We, as a campus, all need to chill out for a bit. But how?

At some point, most people grow tired of taking shelter in the Cove or the SLC, and some of us are loathe to drive out to the local Starbucks for fear of losing a precious parking space. Knowing of this, here are four off-kilter ways to kick back:

1.Sit out on the mall.
It’s big. It’s green. And there’s free WiFi. Why sit inside cold, dark residence halls when you can get your Facebook fix in the sun? Grab your favorite tasty beverage and get some (supposedly) delicious to-go food from the Commons and have a picnic. You know you came to a liberal arts school just for the scenic campus.

2.Late night bike rides.
Despite the overwhelming abuse, the Pirate Bikes are still holding up strong. Why not utilize them when they aren’t in high demand? The sidewalks around campus are mostly empty at night. Gently ride around, or grab a friend and have death-defying races. Nothing cures stress like nearly breaking your neck in front of the Perkins Chapel.

3.Enjoy a new coffee place.
Don’t get me wrong; I love everyone’s favorite Seattle-based empire. But it’s not the sum of all coffeehouses. For something that’s deliciously local, try Cianfrani in the Georgetown courthouse square. It’s barely five minutes off of campus and they have delightful frozen drinks as well as your run-of-the-mill drips and cappuccinos. Sipping a warm hazelnut drip while taking in the strangely serene ambience of the square is quite a way to spend an hour.

4.Nerf Guns
This is the reason that I have not simply gone insane this year. Some of you may have been captivated with these gifts from God as a child. If such were this case, then I would highly encourage you to get in touch with your past. If not, then you have quite a surprise in store. For only seven dollars at the local Wal-Mart, you can have all the stress relief you’ll ever need. Nothing clears the mind quite like rapidly shooting off six foam darts at, say, a roommate, or if you’re especially sadistic, an unsuspecting library patron.

These are just a few ideas. If all else fails, just remember to breath.

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