Hope College’s 2018 spring semester is ending. As classes begin piling final papers, projects and tests onto the students, it can be arguably one of the most stressful times of the year. The building pressures of that to-do list can cause some anxiety or panic, which in turn can make those tasks harder to confront. The school and Student Activities Committee understand what the weight of classes can do to its students and have created some events to help deal with the end-of-the- year burn. Attend some of these events and take some advice to cope with and distract from finals week. Music soothes the soul. The last Concert Series show is taking place Thursday at 8 p.m. for those who need a musical boost. Music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on the body and mind. This concluding show presents Kevin Morby and his album, City Music. Calming sounds have an inherent link to our emotions and the ability to decrease the biological stress response. Swaying to new sounds is bound to take students’ minds off creeping up exams.
Students can find themselves forgetting to smile as daunting assignments loom over them. Vanderprov is a sure way to get those laughs rolling. Hope’s improvisation group will be putting on their last performance of the year for students on Monday at 9:30 p.m. in the Dewitt Center theatre. The skits these improv students perform are innovative and can surprise the audience with how fast they are on their feet. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain, and there is nothing more painful than exams. This is a comedy night students aren’t bound to forget during stressful times.
Therapy dogs are coming back to campus. These furry friends have been proven to reduce stress in humans. Science says so! Playing with and petting an animal increases levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin, and decreases production of the stress hormone cortisol. They will be waiting for students in need on Tuesday from 12 to 2 p.m. in the campus living room in the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center. There is nothing like a few doggy kisses and wagging tails to make students feel good on the inside, both physically and emotionally.
If some of these events don’t fit into the busy schedule of Hope students, there are other resources to feel better all around the board – mentally, physically and emotionally. Music is never far away. Play your favorite playlist on Spotify and allow your favorite singer or group to take you away. Laughs are everywhere. Take half an hour for yourself and watch a funny show on Netflix or take a lunch break with friends. Smiles are a way to recharge and remind yourself that exams aren’t the end of the world.
Therapy dogs aren’t the only animals to roam the Holland community. Take a step outside and head for a walk around campus or downtown area. Friends or Residential Directors are sure to have pets that would love the extra attention. While getting some fresh air, perhaps a friendly owner wouldn’t mind if you ask to say hello to their furry best friend.
Students need to get creative and make their own list of relaxing activities to take part in this coming exam week. The resources to de-stress are abundant.