Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Showing we care

On Oct. 6, Augustana College had its first Day of Self-Care. While only 15 students participated, I wasn’t surprised at the lack of interest. At Augustana there is a culture surrounding what makes a student great, and that’s over involvement. I’m extremely familiar with this concept. After all, I was accepted here on the premise of being a good student, and a highly involved one at that. It’s one of the reasons I chose to become a Viking, I was awarded for my behaviors. At Augustana you can be everything: a student, musician, athlete, and be involved in several activities, and still be successful, right?
What we often forget is that those behaviors can easily become destructive, and a Day of Self-Care is exactly what is needed. However, rather than block out a few activities in the day, I think it would be best that the school take the next step forward. Symposium Day is a day reserved to preserve our sense of a greater academic community, meant to further intellectual knowledge. Why don’t we have a day reserved to preserve our health and well-being as a supportive community, meant to further our self knowledge?
More often than not, I see students tired, stressed, and overbooked, and that’s the real explanation for how we end up with illness spreading like wildfire. It’s not just a shared community setting, it’s fatigue and depleted immune systems, often caused by lack of sleep, balanced meals, etc. but we don’t talk about that. After all, our campus is apparently made of super humans, faculty and staff included. For all the work we hand in, someone has to evaluate it, leaving both students and professors susceptible. When it comes to contagion, Augustana takes no prisoners.
As reported in an earlier feature, our student counseling services described itself as more of a reactive than proactive model, due to the high traffic it receives. By allowing them to have an entire day dedicated to prevention and self-care, it could reduce the strain on the system and enable students to take their own health into their own hands. After all, education happens both inside and outside the classroom, but not if you’re suffering from a mental breakdown. Then, what you need is a Day of Self-Care, or many days for that matter.
While I appreciate learning about research methods, I could’ve definitely used a crash course in how to manage stress, and that I wasn’t alone in this battle. We constantly pass each other, “I can do it all” faces plastered on for show, and then collapse at home after classes, practices, meetings, etc. I have a simple deduction as to why few people attended the Day of Self-Care. We were all too busy to stop and take a few moments out of our jam-packed schedules. If your schedules doesn’t stop, you don’t stop. That’s how the vicious cycle continues.
There’s not doubt that a day centered upon health and wellness would be beneficial not only for students, but faculty and staff as well. Relieving stress in educational and creative ways can allow for us to place self-care as a priority, which is necessary before entering such a performance-based, and often unforgiving, workforce.
We need to halt everything, including classes, and dedicate real effort and real time to learning about mental health, physical wellness, and other concepts often begrudgingly forced down in brochure form. Otherwise, no progress will be made.

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