Make Time to Go Out, Hang Out, and Chill Out!

By Jason Chou |

As a graduate student, you will be busy – classes, teaching, research, and even family responsibilities for many. So busy, that stress and burnout among graduate students has become a topic of research. Our staff at GradSuccess want you to reduce stress to avoid burnout, so you will have a firm foundation for success during graduate school and later in your careers. This is why one of our goals is to promote your mental and physical well-being.

Tending to one’s physical and mental health should be the top priority, but many people, not just grad students, continue to put work and other responsibilities ahead of their personal well-being. It ought to make sense that when we are physically and mentally healthy, we are able to accomplish the things we need to get done. What can I do when I’m physically or mentally drained? Well… nothing.

Focus on your physical and mental well-being before, yes before, you focus on work. Prior to beginning each quarter in the coming academic year, intentionally schedule time for yourself to go out, hang out, and chill out.

Go out!

It is a good idea to step away from your work environment, which includes where you study (maybe your room or even your local coffee shop). Get away from the lab and the classroom to visit somewhere different, so check out The Rec Center’s Outdoor Excursions for some great ideas for getting out and away from work.

One idea is to plan a camping trip to one of the many national and state parks near UCR. The Rec Center even has outdoor equipment that you can rent. In addition to camping gear, you can even rent what you need to go snorkeling, rafting, or, one of my favorites, surfing!

[Image Description: A longboard surfer riding in on a waist-high, rolling wave.]

Pictured: The waves are breaking 2-to-3, so grab your board and go SoCal surfing with me!

Hang Out!

Of course this means to hang out with good company, but it also means to do that for an extended time. Like really ‘hang’ out… for as long as you can.

[Image Description: Michael Jordan making a high-flying dunk during his time with the Chicago Bulls.]

Pictured: It’s hard to beat Michael Jordan when it comes to hang time.

Plan for a weekend away at least once every quarter, maybe on a long weekend when there is a holiday (or not if you prefer smaller crowds!) Do something fun with friends and any other people you enjoy having conversations with.

You can begin by hanging out and meeting with those you know or connecting with graduate students from other departments at our weekly Coffee Social (3pm to 4pm every Wednesday in the Physics Courtyard) or our quarterly Stargazing Night (to see Jupiter on Mon, Nov 13th @ 6:00pm at the Bell Tower) and Stress Relief Fair (Wed, Oct 25th at 3pm in the Physics Courtyard).

Chill Out!

To chill out means to relax, and that means to slow down when things get too hectic. Too much happening too quickly means anxiety and stress levels can rise. When feeling mentally burdened, a common tendency is to procrastinate (which isn’t all bad according to one Stanford philosophy professor) and avoid the things that stress us out. Instead of letting procrastination be a random or unplanned happening, anticipate that your work will be challenging and be preemptive about saying “no” to doing work when you need to.

[Image Description: A tree sloth sitting in a hammock and turning to the viewer with the words “How about, no”.]

Pictured: Tree sloths have absolutely perfected the art of slow and relaxed.

GradSuccess provides support for graduate student success through our programs and our staff, which includes graduate students like you. The Graduate Student Resource Center (GSRC) in particular works with other campus departments like The Well (Stress Relief Fair) and the Physics Department (Stargazing Night) to provide times to go out, hang out, and chill out.

This year, make it a priority to intentionally schedule time to get away from work, connect with others, and take it easy.

Glenn Frey


[Image Description: Glenn Frey in the foreground and Don Henley in the background performing on stage as The Eagles in the 1970s.]

Pictured: Glenn Frey and Don Henley of The Eagles taking it easy on stage.