Expand mental health activities during finals

Faith DuFresne, Columnist

In a recent study, finals and midterms were the top source of stress for 31% of college students across the U.S. These high stress times can be detrimental to the well-being of students and are students’ biggest academic impediment.

It is imperative UT encourages students to take advantage of the stress-relieving resources that are available to them in order to take care of themselves. By expanding the activities and the hours of these events, UT can better promote students’ mental health and overall well-being.

The Division of Student Affairs, along with other divisions at UT, usually offers a variety of activities to students during finals to help students cope with their stress. Previous events, such as Chillfest and RecSports Field Day, gave students the opportunity to take a break from studying and interact with peers by participating in fun activities. However, UT needs to increase the availability of stress-relieving activities for students during the midterm and finals seasons to continuously promote quality mental and physical health for all students.

UT must continue and expand these social events into the upcoming finals season as students’ health and well-being is reliant on the ability to take a break and alleviate stress. This would entail hosting events that don’t require students to schedule their time around attendance, but rather allow them to utilize the space whenever they can, which would be more beneficial to students.

Katy Redd, UT’s associate director for prevention, development and media relations, explained the resources available to students and the importance of these events.

“I think it’s really important that we host events during more stressful times of the year. It’s important for students to know that they’re cared about, that we recognize this as a hard time and that we are creating a supportive space for them to be able to take care of their mental health and well being,” Redd said.

Redd also added that the high stress time of finals is one of the most important times to make sure that students prioritize self-care, whether by reaching out to counseling services, getting enough sleep or taking time to relax with friends and classmates. 

In addition to the activities UT already plans, they should also host more events with creative outlets such as art therapy or having pets on campus.

Psychology freshman Ainsley Boyd shared her experience with her own mental health during stressful times.

“I definitely have to force myself to take breaks…I’ve had to learn that (taking time for yourself) and surrounding yourself with people who are going through the same thing definitely helps you put things in perspective,” Boyd said, “Like dog (therapy) would de-stress me so much.”

UT events that cultivate a healthy mental and physical well-being are essential during the waves of stress that crash during midterms and finals. Not only do these events allow students a chance to socialize and interact with peers, but they provide a much-needed break from studying and stress. 

The well-being of UT students cannot be understated in extremely stressful situations, and UT must continue to place student well-being at the forefront of its services and activities by offering more events to students during finals.

DuFresne is a journalism freshman from Dallas, Texas.