Taking Time for R&R, Student Style

Students have a brief opportunity for a little rest and relaxation at the end of classes and before the start of CEP with Relaxation Night on Thursday, May 6, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. “We’ve reserved the entire Student Union that evening to give students a chance to unwind and prepare themselves mentally for finals,” said Tammy Kresge, coordinator for health promotion with the Weigel Health Center.

Kresge’s job is to promote student wellness, and she focuses on three main areas: avoiding alcohol, other drugs, and violence; nutrition and health, including stress relief; and personal and sexual health. “The end of the semester is a very stressful time for students,” she said. “Reducing stress is essential for students to do well on their exams.”

Students face many time-related stressors at the end of the semester. Most papers and projects are due the last week of class, and exam week has many students pulling all-nighters. “But it’s not just academic stress,” said Kresge. “Students have formed new relationships that are interrupted by the summer break, and that’s a very important issue to them. People who live in the residence halls are moving, leaving behind friends and freedom to return to their parents’ home. And because money is a major issue for many students, landing a summer job is essential if they want to return in the fall.”

Hence Relaxation Night. The Assembly Hall will become the Movin’ and Groovin’ Room, where belly-dancing and kickboxing will be offered. “We’re offering a mocktail tiki bar, music, and a deejay in the Social Hall,” said Kresge. “We’ll have Rock Band competitions in the Game Room.” The Fireside Lounge will become a spa, with chair massages, mini-manicures, and a tea station. A drum circle will also take place.

This semester, Relaxation Night is a collaborative event sponsored by Health Promotions, Student Life, Orientation, the Residence Hall Association, and United Students Government. “Collaborating allows us to pool our resources and provide more activities,” said Kresge, noting that more than 150 students had already confirmed attendance as of April 26.

Kresge believes this face-to-face event provides students with an important alternative to Web-based interactions. “Sometimes I think that social media like Facebook and Twitter make it hard for students to avoid people and situations that have become difficult,” she said. “On May 6, students will have a chance to get together, chill, and celebrate with other people who are sharing the same excitement and challenges.”

Students experience stress all year long, and Kresge uses many other campus resources to help students cope. The Academic Skills Center is a resource for students struggling academically; Financial Aid tries to help students with financial problems; and the Career Development Center is a resource for students who need jobs. For students who are experiencing emotional stress, Kresge recommends they visit the Counseling Center.