To Perkins and back again: a survival guide to the off-campus trek


My friends and I thought we had done everything right. We had the supposed “correct” number of people (6), registered on time, and consciously practiced good karma. But after furiously swiping through the spread sheet, we saw our group leader’s name, sad and small, at the bottom of the last page. Shit had officially hit the fan: we were living in Perkins sophomore year.

The legends surrounding Perkins are rampant; horror stories concern freakishly thin walls, various creatures beneath floorboards, and rooms that resemble jail cells. But I’d say that the biggest obstacle is Perkins’ distance—from just about everything.

Freshman year, I lived in a fantasy world where Andrews Commons was at my feet. The Nelson was close by, I could smell Blue State bagels from my room, and we never saw “those Keeney people” because they just “lived so far away.” In retrospect, Keeney Quad wasn’t far at all. I had no concept, no grasp, of real distance.

If you’re in a similar situation (aka living really fucking far away from campus), this list is for you.


  1. Practice mindfulness. Try and study all of the cracks in the pavement, deliberately monitor your breathing, ignore the fury tears trailing down your cheeks.
  2. Form a crew. Walking far distances alone (especially at night and especially in bad weather) is far from fun. Instead, gather a group of sad souls living in your building and head over to the Ratty for breakfast.
  3. If Suggestion #2 is not a possibility because of scheduling or preference, pop in a pair of headphones and listen to sad, angsty music as you pound the pavement. Consider this Spotify playlist. 
  4. Look on the bright side! In addition to improving your cardiovascular health, living in Perkins ups your chances of meeting the one. Statistically, out of all the Brown alums that marry each other, the majority of them meet in Perkins. Making eye contact with the cute person down the hall? They’re probably not going to meet anyone else because they’re not going anywhere else. The math is in your favor.
  5. Invest in a Fitbit! With this new walk, it will be deeply satisfying to see how many steps you are taking every day. If you’re like me and don’t want to drop $100+ on a high-tech bracelet, check out these distance tracking apps.
  6. If those apps are too vanilla for your taste, try making your daily trek with the walking dead. Developed to help athletes run faster and harder, the app Zombies, Run! centers around a narrator urging you to walk or run faster to avoid zombies.zombie
  7. If sprinting to your 9 a.m. is not your cup of tea, consider listening to podcasts. In addition to helping you sound more cultured at Brown parties, podcasts make long walks way more entertaining. I recommend this, this, and this.
  8. And if all else fails, break your own leg and have Brown EMS take you everywhere for the next 9 months.


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