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Student Health Services offers students resources to de-stress, relax

May 3, 2007

Many students know the feelings that approach as the semester draws to a close – last minute studying, pulling together group projects and above all, feeling stressed out. To help students relieve the stress of finals week, many resources are made available to UW-River Falls students, such as Cruise through Finals and Finals Fest.

Director of Student Health Services (SHS) Alice Reilly-Myklebust said that SHS wants to do their best to help students get through such a tough time of year.
“We try to offer a variety of resources,” Reilly-Myklebust said in a February interview. “We see a lot of people getting sick this time of year, often from being stressed.”

The action begins every Saturday before finals week with Finals Fest, a free concert for students on campus. This year, the concert will take place from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. May 5, with food available for purchase from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Typically, four bands play each year; students are encouraged to attend and watch as Reel Big Fish, Mike Doughty, The Pettit Project and Jester’s Panic take the stage at the outdoor amphitheatre on campus. Students interested in finding out more can log on to www.myspace.com/finalsfest.

Freshman Taryn Hartenstein has never participated in finals events before but said she has heard good things about Finals Fest and plans to attend this year.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Hartenstein said. “It will help relieve stress and give people a good study break.”

Cruise through Finals takes place every year at the start of finals week, this year May 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hosted by Counseling, Career and Student Health Services, students of all ages are invited to come to the campus mall between the University Center and KFA to enjoy a variety of “stress-relieving” activities.

Students can participate in everything from drinking rootbeer floats to prize giveaways. This year, Jane Mannetter of Zaney Janey’s Activity Center in downtown River Falls will give henna tattoos and the St. Croix Center for the Healing Arts will give massages. Everything will be free except for the henna tattoos, for which there will be a small fee. In past years, Hastings Beauty School has even done hairstyling.

Jennifer Elsesser of Student Health and Counseling Services said that the event has been going on for six or seven years and remains fairly popular with students.
“Typically we see around 150 to 200 students come through,” Elsesser said.

Students are encouraged to check out the festivities, which are being improved every year.

Kate Garlock, a junior, barely remembers attending her freshman year and hopes to have some time between studying to attend this year’s events.

“I don’t remember it very well,” Garlock said. “But I’ve heard from people that have gone that it’s really cool now, that it keeps getting better.”

While specific events do take place, other resources to help students de-stress are made available throughout the week from Career, Counseling and Student Health Services. Information is given away regarding counseling, relaxation techniques, and test-taking strategies and other “fun things” are offered to students as well, Elsesser said.

“[We also give away] bio-dots,” Elsesser said. “[They are] stickers that change color according to body temperature – low temp means higher stress.”

The main goal should be to maintain some sense of relaxation, meaning to take study breaks and do what makes you feel good, according to campushealth.com.

For some students, this will mean attending finals events. For others, such as freshman Amanda Dodge, it will be something a little more low-key.

“I don’t usually [do much],” Dodge said. “Just hang out with friends, study, relax and pack up for home.”