(Don’t) Shop till you drop

Between navigating classes, settling into new housing, and maintaining a social life, the first few weeks of school are hectic and, frankly, draining.    

This is probably you right now-I know it’s me.

As someone with anxiety, the pressures of shopping period become a maelstrom of stressors triggering worries about how my decisions now may affect the entirety of my time at Brown. Only a few days into shopping period I’m already experiencing debilitating levels of anxiety as my brain crowds itself with worst case scenarios about coursework and juggling my activities.


The stress simply mounts when I look around and see that others don’t seem as overwhelmed as I am — though I realize that isn’t necessarily true.

We’re all familiar with the way our school’s character is marketed: Brown students are chill, laidback … happy. I remember touring campus as a prospective student and hearing that Brown students were rated the happiest in the country a few years prior. It’s an appealing idea, though misleading, and I’ve found that concerns about struggling while everyone else seems unfazed are very common amongst Brown students.

We’re all trying to act like we’re never more than just a little stressed about school.

But I’ve learned that it’s okay to be stressed about school, or whatever it is that’s on your mind. I assure you that other people are.

Last May, I attended an Active Minds event entitled “Am I the ideal Brown student”. This came at a very stressful period for me, right at the end of second semester. Finals were in a few weeks, and while I panicked regularly about how in the world to handle all of the studying and essay writing in my impending future, I watched my friends handle their own coursework with apparent ease.

Why do they always seem so relaxed?

I went to this discussion feeling decidedly convinced that I was not the ideal Brown student, that I stressed too much, that I should be able to handle my work with the same casual flair everyone else seemed to possess. But the more people opened up, the more I understood that I’m not the only one who worries, who feels alarmed by the work ahead of me, who doubts myself and my ability to measure up to my peers.

This year, as I trudge through shopping period, I endeavor to keep this lesson in mind. We are all stressed, and that is perfectly normal. We have a right to our anxieties, and we have the ability to work through them.

So breathe.

Some suggestions:

  • Drink a soothing tea. (Chamomile is very mild and soothes an upset stomach.)
  • Engage in physical activity to naturally improve your mood.
  • Meditation in Manning Chapel from 4-5 p.m. (available every day and to people of all experience levels).
  • Strive to reconceptualize long-term goals as a series of short-term goals — believe me, this is an easier burden to bear.
  • Engage in a level of social activity most beneficial to your academic goals and mental health-balance.
  • Get away from campus for a few hours. Take a trip to Blackstone Park or go on a walk in downtown Providence.
  • Treat yo’ self, but also remember that self-care includes staying on task so as not to perpetuate further anxiety in the future.

Ugly bear takes Ruth Simmons hostage

As if leaving home behind and transitioning to college life didn’t already precipitate a strange haze of nostalgia or create plenty of emotional trauma, students beginning their U. experience in September will be greeted by a most hideous addition to campus: Urs Fischer’s “Untitled (Lamp/Bear),” the freakish baby-blue bear-lamp sculpture that will make our home its home for the next FIVE YEARS.

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe tastes like summer vacation

Spending the summer in Providence hanging out next to the SciLi can feel a little bit less like vacation and a little bit more like you are slowly having your soul sucked out of you by concrete walls.

So for those of you trying to convince your Snapchat friends that you’re on an island that’s a little bit more exotic than the Rhode, try making the 5-minute trek to Wayland Square and pretend you’ve entered the tropics.

In an effort to pretend I was already on summer vacation and not still mid-way through finals, I stopped by Tropical Smoothie Cafe last week for brunch. The place boasts healthy, fun foods with a tropical twist and wants to give you a beachy, summer-feel all day everyday. Considering it was a rainy, overcast Sunday morning with no chance of sun or happiness, I was more than skeptical that a simple smoothie could loosen my bad mood, but I was willing to give it a try.


And I have to admit, Tropical Smoothie Cafe ain’t too shabby at all. The orange and baby blue decor gives off a distinct beachy vibe that will remind you of the way that suburban moms’ are always trying to decorate their bathrooms, but with less cheesy flip-flop shaped soaps and more of a relaxed, happy-go-lucky feel.


I’m always a sucker for bright photographs so I ordered the Chipotle Chicken Club Flatbread prominently featured on their board. The flatbread sandwich has grilled chicken, bacon, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, pepper jack cheese and chipotle mayo, but the woman behind the counter promised the dish has a bite. The chipotle mayo was nice and tangy with just a little bit of heat, and I was more than pleased with the amount of bacon I received. The warm, toasted flatbread felt nice and light, but the chicken kept the sandwich hearty and filling.


But obviously, in a place called Tropical Smoothie Cafe, I was most excited to try out the drinks. And seriously, these smoothies are huge — weighing in at a whopping 24 ounces. For fitness buffs, the cafe has a number of different add-ins and supplements the servers can scoop in including probiotics, B-12 and protein powders. And for students trying to watch their waistlines after too many semesters of Ratty soft serve, you can always vary the amount (and type!) of sugar added in.


I’m a bit of a smoothie connoisseur myself, so I decided to try two of their smoothies for the sake of research: the Island Green Smoothie and the Paradise Point Smoothie. Both of the smoothies had the perfect sipping texture — smooth enough that I could easily drink from a straw, but still thick enough to feel like I was drinking something really substantial. The smoothies felt creamier than those from the Creperie, but a little icier than Malachi’s.

The Island Green features spinach, kale, mango, pineapple and banana, but don’t let the green color deceive you: This doesn’t taste like your average green shake. The mango and banana flavors are really what shine through, while the green stuff just adds a little bit of depth to the smoothie. Good news for a kale-hater such as myself.

The Paradise Point — with strawberry, banana and pineapple — was more along the lines of smoothies I usually order. Simply put, it was really, really good. Though I could distinctly taste all three of the flavors separately, the pineapple really did take take me back to Pina Coladas at the beach.

Overall, even though it’s hard to make Providence feel like the Bahamas, Tropical Smoothie Cafe does a pretty great job of it. So grab your $5 sunglasses, take a couple of pictures with well-placed sailboat emojis, and I think we got ourselves a real summer vacation.

Phi Beta Kappa inducts 99 seniors

Ninety-nine members of the Class of 2016 were elected to the Rhode Island chapter of Phi Beta Kappa April 20, Chapter Administrator Mary Jo Foley wrote in an email to The Herald.

Phi Beta Kappa’s Brown chapter was founded in 1830 and is the seventh oldest in the nation. The organization “encourages intellectual distinction among undergraduates by recognizing outstanding academic accomplishment in the course of a broad liberal education,” according to the University’s website.

To be eligible for election, seniors must have completed at least 28 courses in their seven semesters and achieved a minimum of 23 grades of A or S with distinction. Students must earn an additional A or S with distinction for every C they get. Students who studied abroad needed to earn a lower minimum number of grades of A or S with distinction that varied based on the number of semesters they studied abroad.

The following seniors were elected this year:

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Hillary and Bernie rallies in Rhode Island

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College: Hook-Up Central … ?

Like many of you beautiful nerds, I happened to host for ADOCH this past week. I, being myself, had no problem with it when my pre-frosh asked if it was OK if he (note: I live in a gender-neutral room) changed in the room. I remained fine with it when he added that the pants have built-in underwear (not sure if that’s cool or ill-advised) and that there would be a bare butt involved. But here’s the interesting bit: I didn’t even get to assure him that it was fine before, almost as if he were remembering something he’d forgotten, he said, “Oh, but you’re in college: You’re probably pretty used to stuff like this.”

Which brings me to a concept I’ve discussed with several of my friends, one which doesn’t actually seem to ring true: the idea that college is Hook-Up Central.

Thought I’d be eating a lot of this cake, tbh.

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