The University of Connecticut office of Student Activities says they are seeking to provide students with a way to manage their stress during finals season.
Student Activities already provides activities for students trying to manage stress on the uKindness website. They offer a variety of activities ranging from exercise to meditation, including Meditation Mondays which take place at 4 pm weekly.
Joseph P. Briody, Ph.D., the interim assistant vice president for Student Affairs and director of Student Activities, elaborated on the services provided by uKindness.
“This page of the uKindness site is intended to centralize a host of resources for students and provide them with information, videos, exercises, etc. on understanding and managing stress and anxiety. There are a number of resources there and we’re always adding more information resources as they become available,” Briody said. “uKindness is designed to provide centralized, university-wide information and resources on everything from activities, events and programs (virtual and in-person) to how to stay calm, stay active and much more. That’s a good place to start.”
Briody acknowledged that this semester has been especially stressful for both residential and non-residential students and expressed ways for students to manage their stress, particularly in the lead up to finals.
“This semester has posed some significant challenges for all students (residential and non-residential). Staff in Student Activities and across the university have worked hard to reorient programs and activities to meet the health restrictions while still providing ways for students to connect, engage and de-stress,” Briody said. “After break there will be a host of online/virtual activities offered across campus that will allow students to destress and provide healthy distractions – from online fitness classes and meditation and mindfulness sessions, to virtual workshops on art (being offered by the Benton Museum) and virtual gaming nights being hosted by our colleagues at the regional campuses.”
Briody said Student Activities have seen success in providing a virtual format before, seeing high participation at the beginning of the semester.
“We found that students’ attendance at/participation in virtual activities this past semester has been two-fold. Initially – during August and early September – we saw a very high level of student participation in most of our virtual programs. While some programs were more popular than others, overall we were very pleased with the extent to which students ‘showed up’ and participated in our virtual activities,” Briody said. “Around Labor Day we began to see a drop-off in online attendance/participation. This was totally understandable from our perspective. Fortunately Student Activities staff and colleagues across campus pivoted quickly to small-scaled, in-person activities to complement the online programs.”
On a personal note, Briody sympathized with students who are finding this finals season uniquely stressful. When asked about his feelings toward managing stress, he provided some of his best strategies.
“I’m not an expert in this area – and I, like so many of our students and staff have experienced stress and found myself anxious at different points throughout the semester. This is completely understandable. From my perspective, this semester (and entire year) has provided so many potential sources of stress and anxiety for all of us – but particularly for our students. To that end, I would simply recommend (again) that students familiarize themselves with and take advantage of the available resources (again, SHaW-Mental Health), find time for themselves every day and stay connected with friends, family and members of their support network,” Briody said.
Briody noted the resources provided by Student Health and Wellness in addition to the activities provided by Student Activities to reduce stress.
The uKindness website can be found here.