Loud cheerful sounds fill the room even though there is still some tension in the air. If you listen closely students are quizzing each other in line. They clench onto their notecards, take a deep breath and prepare for more stress.
It is midterm season here at the University of Georgia and the students are barely breathing. As students walk up the stairs to Tate Grand Hall they can feel every emotion that surrounds them. UGA's University Union put on an event on March 7, 2019, during the middle of midterm week. The Escape room drew many students who looked for an outlet to destress during one of the most anxious times of the semester. Those who found the time and had the guts to put off a few hours of studying grabbed some friends to test their detective skills to lead the group out. One by one they entered the different themed rooms. Together they had a total of 25 minutes to try and solve the different clues left scattered around the room. Different challenging puzzles, riddles, and codes sent a rush of adrenaline through the students. The irony is found within the activity, destress by stressing.
According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information 41 percent of students are associated with lower depression because of the stress they are faced with during their time at a University. The environment they step foot around the age of 18 contributes to mental illnesses. Stress may arise from sources that include but are not limited to roommate issues, academic problems, financial concerns, family pressure and problems with finding one's self-identity. Many Universities such as UGA and Georgia State University have founded programs that can help assist students when they are most vulnerable. But due to the high quality of students in need of assistance, UGA has limited their students to a few sessions.
Junior Hannah Koval a student at UGA stated that compare to the other institutions she attended UGA is lacking in the "help" department. She expresses her concern on being placed on a waitlist when she wanted to be seen back in December of 2018. The stress of finals, a new university and struggling in finding the perfect major started to cause some anxiety. Koval has found new outlets to help her relax and de-stress such as attending events with her friends from Christian Camp Fellowship a Campus Ministry Organization. Koval takes advantages of the events put on by the University Union to help blow off some steam. She claims she was lucky in finding a place that allowed her to express her worries and finding her home away from home. Yet, she worries that many students who have more severe problems are not able to find the help they need.
UGA's Counseling and Psychiatric services center provides students with treatment for mental health. They are committed to providing a safe space for those who are in search of help but according to the Anonymous a source close to the faculty, they only provide short term aid which estimates to around 12 sessions. If the student is in need of longer treatment CAPS "assist" them in seeking for help in the community. "They assist them by giving students a list of local offices in the community based on their insurance/financial needs. Most students do not reach out to the local offices because they do not know what they are looking for. It's a process and most do not find the perfect counseling center the first time." According to an interview with Dr. Bowls, a therapist at CPS, students are less likely to go to therapy when they have a few sessions available to them. Even if students are given 12 sessions, most will wait until they feel like they are in need of desperate help.
Many of the University Union's events are amid to help students de-stress and find their place in this massive institution. They host a series of unique events to target every student's likes and wants. Being able to find an event to let go and have fun with diverse students is one of the core foundations of the University Union.