Fresh Check Day: It's More Than Just Barn Babies And Free T-Shirts

Fresh Check Day: It's More Than Just Barn Babies And Free T-Shirts

"Checkin'-in with college students" - Learn about mental health and wellness through an amazing experience!
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Fresh Check Day is the signature program of the Jordan Porco Foundation (JPF). JPF is fully committed to preventing suicide, promoting mental health, creating a message of hope, encouraging help-seeking behavior and self-care. Their goal is to educate young adults about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and other mental health concerns; this message of hope is spread throughout college campuses.

I had the amazing opportunity of not only attending Fresh Check Day, but also participating in it here at Stonehill College. I'm part of Stonehill College's Psychology Society. Being a Psychology major, I was automatically drawn to this club, but I never knew it'd give me the incredible experience of running a table on Fresh Check Day.

Our table focused on the topic of "the elephant in the room," also known as what people don't usually like to share. We discussed how important it is to end the stigma that surrounds talking about "the elephant in the room," or your personal struggle with mental health. You're not alone and we want everyone to know this.

We did more than simply discuss this topic. We did an activity with paper elephants that allowed students to anonymously write their own "elephant in the room."

The workers of the table then proceeded to hang up all of the paper elephants around the booth, showing the different things that people wrote down. You could walk around the booth to see what others wrote and I bet you found a paper elephant that had the same thing written as yours. You don't have to go through anything by yourself.

#EndTheStigma

Our booth also had a positive uplifting vibe to it, thanks to our guest, Ellie the elephant! Ellie definitely gave students a sense of comfort while thinking of what to write.

Along with my experience of personally working a table and having the opportunity to send a message of hope to others while trying to end this stigma, Fresh Check Day is made up of so much more.

Other clubs around campus also participated by having their own tables which surrounded the quad. Each one consisted of their own message and activity. They varied from the dangers of alcohol to steps on how to conquer stress. Free coloring pages were given, diagrams, stress balls, information and much more! While enjoying a stress relieving day, you're also learning at the same time on how to help yourself and others.

What's more stress relieving than petting therapy dogs and cuddling with baby farm animals?

Other students who had the opportunity of working a table at Fresh Check Day only had positives to share as well:

"Everybody has an 'elephant in their room', or something they may go through that they may not feel comfortable discussing with others. But they should realize that they are never alone and that it's OK to talk." - Jessica Infiorati, Stonehill College 2019 (Psychology Society Publicity Coordinator)

"At Fresh Check Day this year, I worked the table for Health At The Hill. We had students write down one reason why they want to stay alive. I feel like it was such a good reminder of all the things we have to look forward to and all the things we have to be grateful for. Sometimes we get caught up in the business of life and stress can overwhelm us, but just taking five minutes to realize all we have that makes life so wonderful can go such a long way." - Alyssa Cristadoro, Stonehill College (Health At The Hill Secretary)

The students who worked the booths are not the only ones who received benefits and happiness from this event. Delighted and pleased comments were heard by everyone who attended:

"Admittedly, I only went to Fresh Check Day for a t-shirt, but I left with so much more. The entire event was extremely relaxing and completing the activities was extremely refreshing because it gave you the opportunity to overall spread happiness for yourself and others. It was a rewarding experience and I feel the event should happen more often on campus because of the benefits associated with it." - Matt Mullen, Stonehill College 2019

"Fresh Check Day is a wonderful opportunity for students to become comfortable with talking about mental health, which is super important on college campuses. The cute animals are just a plus!" - Heather Thibeau, Stonehill College 2019

The goals of Fresh Check Day aren't only said, but they're fully experienced when you attend. Some include:

- Increase awareness of mental health resources and services available to students

- Reduce stigma and misconceptions around mental health and suicide that often deter individuals from seeking help

- Empower peers to be gatekeepers by understanding warning signs and knowing what to do if a friend is exhibiting signs of suicide or a mental health concern

- Increase willingness to ask for help if experiencing emotional distress

Only inspiring and encouraging words were said regarding Fresh Check Day and the true meaning behind it. It provided many students with information about resources, services, stress relief and so much more while having an unforgettable time!

Cover Image Credit: Self

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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College Is NOT The Place To Be A Perfectionist, In Fact, It's Nearly Impossible

Accept it and move on.

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Life is hard for a perfectionist, and it only gets harder if it keeps itself up.

There is such little room for a perfectionist to mess up, and college is full of mess ups. That's why no one should expect themselves to keep entertaining the thought of perfection past high school. You can always chase it and never reach it, or you can work as hard as you can and get exactly where you want to be.

I was a perfectionist my entire life.

People always criticized me for it and said it would come back to bite me later. Of course, I never believed them because it worked out in my favor. I was getting where I needed to be and all the self-discipline is what I assumed got me there. Fast-forwarding to the present, they were right. It did come back to bite me. Actually, it is biting me.

I was setting myself up for failure all that time and I ignored it. I was only after perfection up until college because it wasn't that hard to obtain. I didn't have to study and I had time for my friends. But then things got harder out of nowhere and I was not prepared at all to shift the standards I had for myself.

As a perfectionist, I constantly compared myself to other people and made sure I was doing better than the next guy, or at least just as well. That didn't work for long. I stopped competing with others because I learned that no one is worth beating if they aren't even chasing the same goal. And that helped me learn to quit competing against myself, too, because we're on the same team.

Freshman year of college, I almost pulled it off. The perfectionist in me nearly won. Then I started reasoning with myself and I figured out I had limits to what I could handle and I stopped pushing myself past them.

There are sacrifices that have to be made in reaching success.

College is like the triangle you can only pick two things from. On it might be grades, free time, and work, and you have to give up free time to have a job and good grades. A perfectionist will try so hard to get all three, and they may be able to at first. But it catches up with you.

Then there are other times where you're lucky to get one piece of the triangle. It's a game of going back and forth and testing patience in the pursuit of greatness.

I may end up with an "A" in a class because I only studied for that one exam, and in return, I might fail a quiz that same week. It would have bothered me to not evenly distribute my time and to not do perfectly on all of it, but it's actually OK. And the job that may take up way too much of my time will look really good on my resume and the time I didn't have to enjoy myself won't matter later.

And as bad as they seem at one particular moment, sacrifices are worth it in the end. Some things just carry more weight than others and the further I've gotten, the more I've figured it out. And I just try to remember that when I reach the point where I've gotten exactly where I wanted to be, no one is going to ever know what I had to give up to get there. And there's even a chance I won't remember either.

As long as I'm actually trying as hard as I can and I learn from every hiccup and mistake, things will work out the way they should.

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