Students hammock to combat stress

Brielle Manuel, the RA for the first floor of Cypress Hall A, takes some time to settle into his hammock and play some songs for his friends. 

Most students take between 12 and 15 credit hours a semester. Between extracurriculars and jobs, a single day can completely tire out a USF Bull. The Marshall Student Center and clubs across campus offer events for students to disconnect, but sometimes a little downtime is all one needs to recuperate. 

Brielle Manuel, a senior majoring in cell and molecular biology, is currently taking a semester full of STEM classes and is the RA for the first floor of Cypress Hall A. Between helping his residents, making his way to class and finishing all his homework in time, Manuel purchased a hammock at the end of the last fall semester as a plan to focus on breathing easy.

“I hang up my hammock early in the evening, when the day is a bit cooler and not too hot,” Manuel said. “I usually hammock with my residents and friends. Most of the time we do homework, but I also like to bring out my acoustic guitar and serenade everyone.” 

According to NBC News, mental health is a rising problem among college students due to workload-induced stress, depression and anxiety. Among the behavioral symptoms of stress, students can have physical symptoms as well: headache, back pains and restlessness included. 

Dartmouth University recommends students give themselves me-time, pick up a hobby, slow down and find a way to relax that works for them.  

According to Miranda Lim, a junior majoring in elementary education, buying a hammock is an easy way to disconnect from the nonstop nature of everyday life. 

“I usually hang up my hammock with doing homework in mind, but I end up relaxing and hanging out with friends instead,” Lim said. “We chat, one of my friends plays his guitar and sings, and we all relax from the crazy amount of homework that we have.”

With a brisk pace going to and from class, sometimes seeing the hammocks and those enjoying them, students don’t realize their next moment of tranquility can be hanging between those trees.

“I honestly had no interest in buying a hammock until all my friends were hammocking,” Lim said. “From that point on, I was hooked and I had ordered my hammock right then and there.”

The open area next to the tennis courts alongside the residents halls is more accessible to students living on campus than the other open spaces around campus. 

“My go-to spot to set up my hammock is right outside my residence hall,” Manuel said. “There is a nice shady, grassy area with tall trees between Cypress A and Cypress E.”

Hammocks can be a little hard to find in store, but easy to find online. Manuel even purchased his hammock through Groupon. Lim found hers on Amazon, from a company called Farland. 

“I would definitely recommend students who are looking to relax and take a break from their busy schedule to buy a hammock,” Manuel said.