De-stress to be your best!

Nicole Yeager, Special Feature Editor

Mental Health Days

In response to the heightened levels of stress reported by students and faculty alike last semester, the University has implemented three “mental health days” throughout this spring semester in the place of the usual spring break.

All classes and other campus operations are put on pause for the entirety of these days to allow students and faculty to take some time to treat their mental and emotional health, catch up on work, or just have a day off from the normal routine.

This past Tuesday, Feb. 23, was the first of these days. Although we are only three full weeks into the semester, the University community could all agree that these past few weeks have been increasingly stressful — the “mental health day” was highly anticipated and much needed.

In order to encourage students to take advantage of the day off, and potentially do something special with their day, the University and various organizations planned a full day of events.

The Mind & The Body

First up on the agenda was Virtual Yoga at 2:00 p.m. This event was organized by the Panhellenic Community, as part of their first annual stress-less week aimed to provide holistic wellness to the Greek community and beyond. Furthermore, the yoga session was led over Zoom by an undergraduate student of the University: Alex Apgar ’22. Apgar received his yoga certification during the summer of 2019 and has been pursuing his passion ever since.

“The virtual yoga session was super relaxing and surprisingly fun. I had a great time taking an hour out of my day to do some yoga, and it was nice to see familiar faces on the Zoom,” Julia Sanger ’22 said.

Another event hosted by the Panhellenic Community was Virtual Guided Meditation at 7:00 p.m.

Nicole Everett ’22, vice president of programming for the Panhellenic Council, was responsible for organizing the day’s events. “I was so happy with the turnout at both events today. It’s always nice to see different groups of the campus community come together, and it was especially nice to encourage everyone to focus on their mental health for the day,” Everett said. “I hope people continue to engage with stress-less week.”

Academically Enriched

In addition to these engaging events, there were three other Zoom events on the evening of Feb. 23 that students were encouraged to attend.

First was the Distinguished Entrepreneurial Achievement Award (DEAA) Award Presentation to alum Lance Fritz ’85. Fritz is the chairman, president and CEO of Union Pacific Corp. This event took place from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. Students could attend and show their support for an alum while being inspired by the places the University can take them.

There was also a Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association (BEAA) Student Networking Event from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Engineering students could use their day off from classes to focus on their careers and get one step ahead.

In fact, many students shared that they utilized their day off to work on their job search, internship applications, and even interviews.

“I utilized the day off to carry out an interview for a summer internship,” Andrew Doane ’22 said. “It was nice to be able to focus on my interview without having to worry about classes for a day.”

“I used the day off to get ahead on my school work. Now I won’t be so stressed the rest of the week and over the weekend — I guess in a way today was a good mental health day,” Emma Stone ’22 said.

The last event of the day was a virtual presentation and talk from 6:30-7:30 p.m. sponsored by Religious & Spiritual life, titled “We Are Each Other’s.” The talk is a part of a Tuesday lecture series which focuses on finding inspiration, creativity and connection from one another.

Crafts, Hobbies, & Fun

In addition to all these events, Seventh Street MakerSpace offered “Grab & Go kits” for watercolor painting, the Commons offered paint by numbers and Uptown gave out cake pops outside of their space. Students could stop by at various times to “grab” a kit and “go” back to their dorms to do the craft.

“The watercolor kit was full of all the supplies I needed and it was a nice addition to my day off! It’s also nice to see how the Makerspace is adapting to make their events and services COVID-safe,” Matilda Melkonian ’22 said.

Other students reported sleeping in, getting something special for lunch, taking a drive through the wintery scenes of Lewisburg, catching up with a friend and taking some me-time on their mental health day off.

The next days off will be: Wednesday, March 24 and Thursday, April 22.

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