Stress Free Zone gives students a chance to take a break as finals week looms

Ashten Haswell

At one table students can stop and color. At another, they can play with Play-Doh or play a board game with friends. There’s even a table to make balloon stress balls, or just pick up some bubble wrap to pop.

Each semester during the week before finals, the Stress Free Zone is held in the Student Center. This year’s host is the Center for Student Involvement, and these activities are just a few of the ways that the CSI is helping students take a break from studying.

“We want to help students to relax and reduce stress because we know they are studying a lot,” said Amanda Stewart, graduate student in leadership development.

Aside from the activities, students can also pick up handouts on how to reduce stress.

Students wanting to stop by and enjoy the Stress Free Zone can do so today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second floor of the Student Center.

The Center for Student Involvement will also have fortune cookies with stress release sayings and tips on the inside. Along with the fortune cookies, there will be healthy snacks available, as well. Stewart said it is important to eat healthy when under a lot of stress.

Yesterday’s windy weather caused a slow day in the Student Center, but the Stress Free Zone had about 26 students stop by.

Jessica Graning, a member of the Emerging Leader program, was in charge of one of the tables.

“All the activities we have have been a hit,” Graning said. “For the most part it has been pretty responsive.”

Graning said she even had a student from another school say that her school has something like the Stress Free Zone, but she liked the activities better here.

Graning also said some students would just walk past to check it out, but wouldn’t stop.

As one passerby put it: “If I’m stressed I study, because if you procrastinate you get behind.”

The fortune cookies attracted other students to stop at the table.

“Honestly, I stopped because I saw the sign and the fortune cookies,” said Tara Raftovich, junior photo illustration major. “I don’t usually get stressed, but finals crept up on me because of break. But I’m going to find myself more stressed this time.”

Sophomore pre-nursing major LaToya Mullen was visiting the Stress Free Zone for her second time. She stopped at the table last year.

“Stress,” she said. “Class is stress.”

To keep her from stressing out too much, Mullen wanted to come back and make another stress ball, because the one she made last year broke. She said she still uses the handout with the different ways to release stress that she was given last year.

“It is educational for students that they do pick up some of the handouts, and that they listen to the advice of the people staffing the tables,” Stewart said. “Also, that students know that it is okay to take a break during a really busy time.”

Contact student affairs reporter Ashten Haswell at [email protected].