Colleges are finally taking note and taking care of their students. Several studies have been done about the mindset of college students and how stress impacts the body. Think back to when you were in college—when were the most stressful times for you? No, not waiting the three minutes for your pregnancy test to register a “negative” result, or stepping on the scale freshman year—its finals week!
Students hunker down in libraries and pull all-nighters studying for the ever-looming “finals.” The stress is immense. There are always stories of binge drinking, Adderall-popping, and stress eating around these times. Colleges have now started implementing things that will help mentally relax students.
Cornell University installed grass. Doesn’t sound very impressive except they didn’t install it on the quad—they put it in two libraries. Gilad Meron is a recent graduate of Cornell and the “indoor lawn” is his idea. It’s based off the Attention Restoration Theory, “… which says that direct exposure to nature, viewing nature through windows, and even viewing images of nature are restorative.” That’s pretty cool … but it’s nothing compared to Occidental College.
Occidental College designates a room during finals week and fills it with puppies. From 6 pm to 8 pm, stressed out students can take a break and roll around a room filled with little puppies. If that’s not your cup of tea (HOW DARE YOU!) than you can head over and get a massage from 7 pm to 11 pm.
Puppies, grass, massages? Why weren’t these implemented when I was in college? I think it’s a good idea that the puppy time is limited otherwise I think we’d see a higher flunk out rate. I know I’d spend all my time in a puppy-filled room instead of in Psych.
If you haven’t heard of Sophie’s Choice (both William Styron’s book and Alan Pakula’s film adaptation featuring Meryl Streep are top notch), you should definitely check them out. The story involves a woman who, upon arriving at Auschwitz with her son and daughter, must choose which child will be immediately “eliminated” and which will be allowed to live … well, as much as life in a concentration camp can be considered “living”.
Unquestionably a work of fiction, right?
Except that something very similar is going on in Africa right now … yup, in 2011.
The tales pouring out of east African nations, notably Somalia, of terrible choices faced by mothers are heartwrenching.
While the time we spend in college can be the best time of our lives, it can also be the most stressful. There’s so much going on – classes, homework, jobs, extracurriculars, planning your life, spending time with friends and significant others – that it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Which is why it is quite confusing that most colleges and universities do not have strong counseling programs, or even mental health resources. Students are often misdiagnosed or offered unnecessary medications by their college’s counseling or health centers, or made to feel that they have a serious issue when they have just come to talk to someone. On the other end of the spectrum are students who have their …