On Thursday, March 20, members of the CLAS came together for the first all-employee meeting of the spring semester. The focus of the meeting was to learn about stress management tips and techniques for tutors and tutees, and how they can apply these methods to their busy lives. During the beginning of the meeting, program coordinator Hillary Ornberg gave a presentation that revealed both surprising and unsurprising statistics about stress and its overwhelming impact on college students.
After the presentation, students chose which stress relieving activity they wished to participate in: art or yoga. For the students who chose to participate in yoga, relaxation and quiet time were the key components. Participants indulged in calming music and utilized breathing techniques and slow stretches like “Child’s Pose,” “Dog and Cat,” and “Mountain,” to achieve relaxation. Ornberg, who helped lead the yoga exercise, said the purpose of the activity was for each individual to focus on their own bodies, comfort, and general self. The idea was for students to not get caught up in doing each move perfectly, or to worry about how they were doing in comparison to others. “We get in our heads and it stresses us out. Focus on what you can do and do it as well as you can, and have that be perfect in all of its imperfections, because that’s the beauty of it,” said Ornberg.
For the art participants, markers and paper were distributed so that students could draw the things that stress them out. Money, employment, school, friends, and relationships were some of the most common things drawn. Students were then given another piece of paper and were told to draw the things that de-stress them and bring them happiness. Afterwards, in a rather symbolic and therapeutic style, the students ripped up the papers depicting the stress-inducing things. “It really helped to put down on paper what has been stressing me out because it forced me to confront it,” said writing tutor Mia Knausenberger, “It actually felt very stress-relieving to rip the paper up afterwards!”
In reflection, Ornberg had some words for students seeking to successfully relieve their lives of stress. “Go into it with the intention of relaxing and focusing on you. Give yourself permission to be present in that moment and you’ll be relaxed.”
Allison Foley, Tutor