Laugh the stress away at The Depot


When due dates for assignments start to pile up and interfere with work schedules, stress for students can escalate quickly. Some students turn to comedy, whether it’s unwinding after class at one of The Depot’s comedy nights or watching their favorite comedians at home.

Either by making people laugh or sitting back and laughing, some students use comedy to distract themselves from daily and school life.

The stress of balancing work, school, a social life and their post-college future can make students anxious. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 85 percent of college students said that at some point during the last year they felt overwhelmed by all their responsibilities.

Stress starts to build up for second-year student Nathaly Santoyo when her assignments are due at the same time. Santoyo works 30 or more hours a week as a sales associate, which sometimes leads her to do all her assignments and studying in one day. She’s also stressed about being late to class because of her 30-minute commute from the Outer Mission.

Santoyo uses running as a coping mechanism for stress, but comedy is different because it doesn’t require the same focus. “I use comedy to cope with stress from school because laughing always helps me forget what I am worried about,” she said.

Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart and Anjelah Johnson are some of her favorite comedians because she finds them relatable. Santo also connects with comedians at The Depot, where she attended in support of her friend Steffani Gaona, who performed at the comedy open mic night last Wednesday.

“I use comedy to de-stress others and to make people feel less awkward,” Gaona said. Some of the inspiration for her material comes from awkward conversations she has with boys at parties. By trying a more relatable approach with her material, Gaona said that she doesn’t want to deprive people of her awkward life.

Orion Levine, another comedian who performed at The Depot, has been pursuing comedy for 10 months. “Comedy is a thing that keeps my creative cells busy,” Levine said. While he said he is proud of his stress, he uses comedy as a distraction from it. Levine said he was attracted to comedy by the urge to tell strangers about his “daddy issues.”

Too much stress can cause anxiety, sleeping problems, headaches and depression, according to the ADDA.  

Other than comedy nights, students can cope with stress with counseling. SF State offers other alternatives to deal with stress, such as therapy dogs in the quad. Students can also go to Room 329 in the HSS Building on Wednesdays for free massages and the Biofeedback Lab, which uses a technique that gives feedback on how to alter the body to decrease stress.

If laughing doesn’t help, students can find stress prevention and management tips on the Student Health Services webpage. From time and money management tips to reminders to eat right and sleep, the webpage also offers information on its meditation workshops and several off-campus resources.