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To cope with finals, college students offered oxygen bar, Legos, ice cream

Gone are the days when college students simply crammed for finals with caffeine-fueled all-nighters.

Colleges and universities now offer a wide variety of destressing opportunities. The weeks leading up to spring 2022 final exams are no exception.

At Illinois Central College, for example, its “Destress Week” begins May 2 with “massage chairs, oxygen bars, and some arcade games,” its website states.

“Stressless Week in the Library” at the University of Minnesota Duluth includes a note to students: “As we approach the end of the semester, you may be experiencing feelings of anxiety, stress, and frustration.”

To help address that, the library in April offers a coloring table, Origami, puzzles and a “Post-it Positivity Board.” Starting this week, it will also offer yoga, silent meditation and button making, according to its website.

This week at the University of Houston, its “Stress Free Finals” programming includes Lego building. Also on tap: ice cream, its website states.

Monroe County Community College recently provided therapy dogs to its campus community. Many campuses also provide massages ahead of exams, including at Wilkes University, which invites students to relieve their “end-of-semester stress and relax before finals.”

College students across the nation have suffered from increased and exacerbated mental health complications due to policies associated with the COVID pandemic and lockdowns, data show.

To that end, Eastern Illinois University late last year gave students two days off to play with puppies, color and ride tricycles to destress.

However the stress-free finals campus programming predates COVID.

As The College Fix reported in 2019, one university brought in therapy donkeys to help students cope with typical end-of-semester responsibilities such as tests and massive 10-page papers. “Therapy llamas” also made an appearance at Stanford University that year.

Other offerings that year included Play-Doh, tarot card readings and miniature golf. In 2018, college students were provided, among other things, miniature horses, coloring books and even a Fortnite tournament.

In the past, universities have also offered destress events for election results.

MORE: Therapy dogs, chocolate, Play-Doh: Universities offer ways to cope with finals

IMAGE: Rommel Canlas / Shutterstock

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.