Student Wellness in a College Setting
By: Gabriella Scotto D’Antuono
Photos: Gabriella Scotto D’Antuono
Time crunch is a term widely used around college campuses, trying to squeeze everything in right before they are due. Exams, midterms, finals, and papers are college kids’ worst nightmares. Stress levels can rise, headaches could form and sleep is most likely deprived. Student wellness is a key factor in the life of a college student.
An article by the Dean of Columbia College entitled The Importance of Student Wellness said, “nearly a quarter of college students nationwide experience anxiety.” Student wellness is a topic known widely through college campuses and there are ways to improve its status.
The UC Davis website defines wellness as “an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.” Marymount University offers constant reminders of student wellness with many different events and classes. These events and classes are put on by The Student Wellness Center at Marymount.
Marymount offers Doggy Destress, Think Before You Drink, Yoga Meditation, Spin, and TRX just to name a few. All these classes are provided to current Marymount students, free of charge. Anna O’Brien, a sophomore Theology major, said, “I’m a regular at the spin classes and am happy they are provided to me by the school, it is super convenient and fun.” These classes are there just for that reason, convenience which allows students to participate when they need it.
In a spin class, participants exercise through a stationary bike. During the class an instructor will talk and display the actions they want the class to achieve; it allows for high energy and motivation. Beth Goldberg is the main instructor at Marymount. She graduated from UMD with a degree in Public Health and was very active in student wellness there and was actually the wellness chair for her sorority.
O’Brien said, “I also attend the TRX classes offered at Marymount as well as Doggie Destress.” TRX is suspension trainers that allow for a full body workout, offered Tuesday nights by a former Marymount Girls Lacrosse player. TRX allows for students to come together and push each other and release endorphins. Doggie Destress is a program run by the student wellness center that opens the Lee Center up to town local dogs to roam free. Students are allowed to engage with the dogs, petting, feeding and playing with them, offered on Wednesday twice a month.
Alexis Ferrell a sophomore SaintsCare Ambassador said, “one of my favorite events put on would be the midterm destress program, which is when we set up different things to do in the library.” Midterms, exams and finals de-stress is put on by Student Wellness and Health Department which is when the library is turned into different events like, movies, coloring, and button making. These events are for the students to come in and take their minds off whatever is bothering them.
When asked if these events and classes are beneficial to students at Marymount. Ferrell said, “Yes, I think it is important that students have the ability to educate themselves on their stress and learn about how to handle it.” Student wellness is widely spreading through college campuses, Ferrell also said. “Most students do not even realize they were stressed until the end of the program. Student wellness needs to be addressed and taken seriously to better the lives of the student body.”
O’Brien said, “Yes, I think it is really important for students to be mindful about their health, whether that be physical, emotional, or mental. Especially, with the classes being so accessible everyone should be able to go.” O’Brien also said, “I feel so much better after the classes and a lot less stressed. It provides me the focus and energy needed to get my things done.” With the programs offered it allows students the ability to release their stress, through a healthy, free program.
When asked her thoughts on if wellness classes are beneficial to students, Goldberg made a great point. She said, “Yes! I think it is extremely important for students to take advantage of wellness classes. It provides them not only a healthy lifestyle, but social interaction.”
In case anyone wonders if student wellness is important and beneficial, a Purdue University Global website said, “College is a demanding time. Now is the time to establish solid health and wellness practices that will carry on well after graduation.” Student wellness does not just base itself off of exercise classes or events, it also applies to eating habits and comfortable, safe places.
The Dean of Columbia College in New York said, “Columbia dining is now open 24 hours and during school breaks to ensure students have a friendly and comfortable place to go when they want to be with others.” A safe spot is key when dealing with student wellness, a main factor is making sure the student can have somewhere or someone to go to when they are not feeling themselves.
When asked if our facilities at Marymount University should be revised and possibly even leave them open later, Ferrell told her opinion. Ferrell said, “Marymount needs to change their facilities to longer hours and better food choices, I feel as though I’m not benefiting from my meal plan with the school.” Eating is one of the key factors in student wellness, making sure the body has nutrition to get the day done.
Another student, Isobel Smith, a Business major at Marymount, gave her opinion about the dining facilities. Smith said, “I personally feel like leaving the dining hall open allows for more social interaction between the students. It would allow for students to come out of their rooms and enjoy others’ company, and maybe some nice snacks.”
Another important factor of student wellness is trying to lower the stress level of the student. In the US News article “How To Be Healthy in College,” Laura McMullen said, “Check if your school’s recreation center offers yoga classes,” and also mentions that “the activities below will help reduce stress.” These include yoga classes as yoga meditation and breathing exercises are said to be great resources for trying to reduce stress.
Marymount offers both yoga and yoga meditation classes that allow students to choose how active they would like to be.
The yoga class is standard yoga positions while working on breathing. Yoga meditation is relaxed where students will sit and close their eyes while working on breathing and focusing the mind. Purdue University Global said, “the key to creating a sustainable healthy habit is to choose something you enjoy” which just might be yoga.
When asked about why she teaches these classes, Goldberg said, “when I went to my first SoulCycle class I knew I wanted to teach. I first started with Spin and now I have expanded into teaching many other formats.” Her interest in this class started with, “me going back to school for nursing. This program allows me to continue doing something I love, while also making some extra money.” Having an instructor that is dedicated to the idea of student wellness and health is key to make sure that the program stays running the right way.
With the help of student wellness Marymount is able to offer events programs to students and encourage them to come out, as well as put their input in. O’Brien who attends both the exercise programs and events put her input about changes needed to be made. “I like them but I know not everyone around campus knows about them so having more advertisements and encouragement would get them to come out,” she said.
Ferrell said, “For the events we hold as SaintsCare Ambassadors I would personally change the events to all have food at them. Whenever food is presented at an event is when we have the highest attendance of students. I mean who doesn’t like food, I know I love it.” Changes like these could make more of these events successful and open them up to a broader audience of students.
When asked if she would change anything about the programs at Marymount, Goldberg said, “I would create a better environment for the classes. I find cycling especially vulnerable and an emotional experience, therefore I would like if they had different options for the lightning, a better stereo and mic system. As well as better bikes and a different class setup.” Following some of these suggestions could bring Marymount audience attendance up at wellness events.
An article on the actionforhealthykids.org website about student wellness suggested the idea of working with students and creating plans to better their experience. The article said, “Work with students to plan ahead for potential obstacles, such as resistance from administrators, financial concerns, time constraints, etc.” Allowing students to make their own plan could potentially lead them into a healthier lifestyle. Student wellness is a key factor in bettering the lives of college students.