Doctorate Student Brings Hip-Hop Into Stress Management Workshop

Nikolas Reid, a second-year counseling psychology doctorate student at UGA, leads a workshop about stress management with the sound of hip-hop. 

Q: What inspired you to share an idea like this?

Well, first I started doing stress research in undergrad. I was really interested in it, and I noticed that stress kind of can have implications for a lot of mental health disorders, so that was really a big reason why I wanted to bring stress into the workshop. And having this assistantship in MSP (Multicultural Services and Programs), we wanted to focus on something mental health related. So, I knew I wanted to do something with stress, but they urged us to do something kind of unique. And so, when I was thinking about what helps me de-stress and what makes me feel more centered, I mean music was definitely one of the things on the list. 

Q: Why hip-hop?

I chose hip-hop specifically just because I felt like within the genre, there’s a lot of overlap between the stories that people tell. They tell stories of resilience, they tell stories of hardships, and I think that went hand in hand with stress. And so, yeah, the workshop’s just kind of geared towards music artists that make music to kind of maybe talk about their stressful events that have happened in their life, or trauma they’ve been through. And hopefully, the goal of the workshop is to kind of analyze those songs or talk about these artists, and then kind of translate that into how students can manage their own stress in their everyday life.  

Q: Were there artists or producers who helped influence or inspire this workshop?

Yeah, well I think when I was doing kind of research and how I wanted to pull this together, I definitely wanted it to be representative of kind of like different aspects of hip-hop. So, Pharrell Williams was a really big inspiration to me. He’s a big time creative (artist). And I just watched a lot of videos about him and his view on creativity, his view on individuality in music, and why he does what he does. 

Let’s see, I draw a lot of inspiration from J. Cole. I’m from North Carolina so just kind of growing up listening to his music, and he talks about, you know, struggles with finances. He talks about struggles with relationships. He talks about struggles with just like growing up around a lot of violence in his community, so he’s a big inspiration. 

In the earlier days, Tupac talks a lot in his music about similar things as J. Cole. And I’ve used Lauryn Hill as kind of a big example too. Just how she talks about how music kind of helped her find her path in life, and through all the hard things, music has always been like a comfort for her. 

Q: What’s your advice to those who want to mix their passion for music with their career?

Yeah. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do. And also don’t let yourself stop yourself from trying something that you might love. Take that leap of faith. Love what you do. 

Comments trimmed for length and clarity.

Yesenia Hernandez is a journalism major covering local music.



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