Life as a student can be incredibly stressful. The “American College Health Association found that 77.3% percent of college students reported moderate or high psychological stress.” That stress affects everything from academic performance to graduation. The Kathryn A. Martin Library aims to provide support for students experiencing stress throughout the academic year through events, activities, and collections.
Stressless in the Library
During both the spring and fall semesters the library offers Stressless Week - a week of stress-reducing activities held the week before finals. Activities include passive programming such as a coloring table, a positivity notes activity that encourages students to leave encouraging messages for each other, puzzles, origami folding, and writing thank you notes to professors/staff.
The library also holds events throughout the week to engage with students and for students to engage with each other. Events often include the ever-popular button-making, keychain-making, and other make-and-take projects. In the past, the library has also partnered with Kirby Student Center to offer P.A.W.S. (Pet Away Worry and Stress), worked with the Lake Superior Zoo’s Zoomobile, partnered with UMD’s student yoga group to offer yoga sessions, and provided chair massages. Additionally, the library tries to partner with as many departments/organizations on campus as possible, including Health Services who provide outreach information on dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, etc.
The programming and events during Stressless Week provide breaks throughout the day during the most stressful time of the semester, and passive programming is available to students throughout the day during the library’s regular hours. The library’s Communication & Events Committee, which plans Stressless Week, aims to focus heavily on passive programming as it is available to students anytime. One piece of feedback the library consistently receives from students is that events are hard to attend during weeks 15 and 16 because they are so focused on studying for finals. Stressless this 2023 spring semester will take place April 24 - 28!
Another way that the library aims to help students throughout their academic career is by offering the Wellness Collection: a collection of books that focus specifically on wellbeing. Books might include meditations, dealing with anxiety or stress, consuming a healthy diet, etc. This, like all our collections, is added to regularly and we always welcome suggestions from students about which materials they would like to see. Additionally library staff highlight this collection via social media and in library displays.