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Students in this study engaged in various activities to avoid anxiety, depression, frustration, and other discomfort resulting from stress or concerns. A sociology student identified studying as a way to stop thinking about her stress:

When my boyfriend in China broke up with me, I was so depressed and frustrated that I could not do anything for two months. But one day, I finally thought it through. I knew there is an only way out for me in America. That is, to get a degree and land a job. So, I tried my best to stop thinking about my ex-boyfriend, my love. At the beginning, it was really hard for me to focus on my studies, but later on, I found studying to be a good way to distract myself from my depression. As soon as I sat down in front of my computer and thought about my coursework and my papers, I forgot all of my frustration and depression. (Participant 2)

An environmental engineering student stated that she tried anything to take her thoughts off the stress:

Depression is just like a contaminant, which can contaminate your mental health. Being aware of this, I try not to indulge the feelings of depression or stress, rather I try my best to defuse the bad feelings. If I feel depressed in some way, I talk to my friends, watch movies, go to parties, listen music, sing a song. I try my best to restrain my thinking, because dwelling on the stress or depression just make you feel even worse. As adults, we need to manage or regulate our emotions. Do not allow those bad feelings, such as stress, anxiety, frustration, and depression, to ruin your whole life. Everybody should be responsible for his or her life. (Participant 14)

A music student mentioned a short break or vacation as an effective means of avoiding thinking about stressful things:

When I feel stressed, I just try to run away from all of these stressors. I just need a break from all the things that have happened to me. Last year, there is one week I felt I really could not take it anymore, so I decided to have a break and then I flew back to China. I felt totally refreshed when I got back, even though nothing has changed and stress was still there. One week’s vocation gave me the opportunity to break away and to stop thinking about the stress. I was confident that I could deal with the challenge successfully. (Participant 12)

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