Today: Jul 17, 2024

Professionals give mental health advice to students

Jack Abbot- General Reporter

The University Access Program, in partnership with several other organizations, hosted their annual “Vibe Out- Standing on Business Event” to raise awareness for the mental health decline that occurs after midterms and discuss the importance of professional communication. 

“Today’s event is ‘Vibe Out.’ We do it every semester as a mid-semester check in just to see where our students are mentally, physically and emotionally,” PASS Program Coordinator Dominique Burell said. 

Assistant Director of OCPD Rachael Cunningham-Exavier giving her presentation. Photo: Jack Abbot

The event consisted of several presentations that focused on various issues of mental health and professionalism. The event opened the discussion with a presentation on how to create a comfortable environment for studying by focusing on the senses. 

The next presentation, “Finding Balance When Life is Lifing,” was hosted by Wellbeing Coordinator Allyson Regis. Her presentation discussed the struggle many students face to find balance between school and other responsibilities that students have at work, at home, or with friends.  

“Money is real. We need that,” Regis said. “Sometimes, that can be a challenge too.” 

Assistant Director of the Office of Career and Professional Development Rachael Cunningham-Exavier then diverted from the other presentations and discussed the importance of professional communication through emails.  

According to her, writing emails in a professional and detailed manner allows students to make sure that they can get the information they need from their professors without creating unintended tones. 

“It can also help you advocate for yourself. A lot of people talk about how they told somebody something verbally, but they never followed it up with an email,” Cunningham-Exavier said. “You have no proof. You have no receipts of things that you told to people or things that you said to people and things that maybe they said back to you.” 

The final presentation, delivered by Graduate Intern Zaria Anderson from the Center for Academic Succes and Accessibility Services, discussed the importance of paying attention to midterm grades and how to improve in the second half of the semester.  

Anderson suggested four steps to help improve grades: self-reflect, ask for help, create a plan of action and hold yourself accountable. 

“It’s OK to ask for help. This is why professional resources like us are here for you guys,” Anderson said. 

The event concluded with food and a discussion session for students to express and discuss their own concerns. 

“I’ve taken away a lot of things that I didn’t even realize coming into this,” Graduate Intern and attendant Shane Lister said. “I think students should take a piece out of every day for self-care.” 

According to Burell, burnout and mental health levels of students can be partially measured using the rates of students accessing resources such as the Center for Academic Success and Accessibility Services and counselling services. According to her, these resources are utilized much more often after midterms, implying that people are more concerned for their grades and mental health after spring break. 

“I know how important it is to have a helping hand be available to you,” Anderson said. “I had to navigate my first half of my college year alone.”  

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