The scene in the Union ballroom was more relaxed, despite the overwhelming intensity of the final week of classes.
Every semester, Campus Events + Entertainment hosts ChillFest, an event to help students take a break as they prepare for final exams. Students had the opportunity to play with therapy dogs provided by Austin Pets Alive, pop as much bubble wrap as they pleased, and receive free chair massages from RecSports masseuses.
Sean Rose, radio-television-film senior and organizer for the event, said ChillFest is held so students can unwind and prevent mental health concerns.
“The whole point of ChillFest was obviously to relax, take a breath before you dive in deep,” Rose said. “If there’s not a time when you can just come and do something different, then mentally, it damages people.”
This semester marks the fifth semester ChillFest was held, and Campus E+E introduced new activities such as board games, iron-on Perler beads and coloring books. Hot chocolate and the gingerbread man decoration are seasonal to fall semesters, since the event takes place around the holidays.
Business pre-med freshman Sana Kidwai said the event helped her fill up gaps in her schedule and stop worrying for a little while.
“There are certain times between classes when you don’t know what to do other than stress out,” Kidwai said. “It’s important to have time for yourself in between all of the rigorous studying that you’re going to be doing.”
Kidwai said her favorite part was making DIY keychains because it brought back memories of more carefree days.
“This used to be a huge thing in elementary school,” Kidwai said. “It’s just like a major throwback. It takes me back to the time when I didn’t have finals to worry about.”
Youth and community studies freshman Robert Morgan said popping the bubble wrap helped him release built-up tension.
“It’s really easy to get caught up in schoolwork and get super stressed out really fast,” Morgan said. “I think that’s why it’s so important to have these events so you can take a step back and breathe.”
Morgan said this time of the semester can make students lose sight of the bigger picture.
“We have to remember that this is all just temporary,” Morgan said. “Your grades are important but they don’t define who you are.”