Between sitting down in study groups for hours upon hours, lack of sleep and poor eating habits, it’s safe to say finals week can take a major toll on student health. Promoting wellness mentally, physically and emotionally during finals week can help your rec center keep consistent numbers.
Gene Sessoms, Director of Campus Recreation Services at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina, said by changing their hours of operations they are still seeing the same numbers during finals week, and they are saving their student workers the stress of not being able to study.
“We do change our hours, effective the last regular day of classes we enter into a restricted schedule, which just means we close a little earlier,” said Sessoms. “I found out by looking at the numbers that students are still getting in the gym, it’s just four hours earlier than usual. The students don’t have to attend classes during finals week besides taking their tests so they have a freer day to still get their workouts in. It also helps our staff out and free them up during exam periods.”
In the past the campus recreation center at the College of Charleston would offer a few free fitness classes during finals week. However, the Student Health Center took that initiative over to promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness while utilizing the rec center space.
Sessoms explained that his colleague and fitness director, Bucky Buchanan, decided that making sure the students coming into the rec were physically capable of even working out. Much more goes into physical well-being than being able to lift weights or run and Buchanan wanted to ensure their students were there for the right reasons during finals week.
“He created a three-part questionnaire at the front desk that we have students look at before they come in to work out,” said Sessoms. “It says ‘Have you eaten your last meal?’, ‘Have you slept adequately?’, ‘Are you Hydrated?’. If you can’t say yes to those three things you really need to go back home and take care of that business before you even think about coming to workout. A lot of people get ill during certain months because they are worn down and their immune system is a little more vulnerable, so that was the concept that got that going.”
The College of Charleston also couples their promotion of all-around wellness by hosting a dietician. They come and host short seminars with snacks and informational handouts to inform students of practices to help them handle stress.
Do you have any unique practices or programs to help students handle stress during finals? We would love to hears them! Share them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.