Jeffrey Chang/HIGHLANDER
Jeffrey Chang/HIGHLANDER

Zombified students gathered in the dozens at the Stress Relief Campfire last Thursday evening as they sought to alleviate their stressful burdens of upcoming exams or midterm scores. Many pupils who were completely stressed-out and sleep-deprived from their week (or weeks) of hardcore, all-nighter study sessions speedily gravitated to the blue tents from the Well, Native American Student Programs (NASP) and Stressbusters, all of which came prepared with warm, inviting faces and campfire snacks. Flamboyant orange and yellow flames blazed high in the dimming sky as crowds of wearied faces leered toward the welcoming fire pits in the middle of the Bell Tower lawn. The spirited, energetic music of NASP gradually helped bring life back into the weary enthusiasm of students with midterm stress.

Booths from NASP and Stressbusters lined the Bell Tower lawn, sharing their stress-relieving tips with passerby. As soon as one walked through, an individually packaged ooey-gooey s’more was quickly passed to the student as if they were receiving a jolt of energy along with this traditional campfire snack. Students were quickly ushered to a brightly lit tent crowded to the brim with others, who eagerly filled their styrofoam cups with scorching water as they chose between packets of much-needed coffee, hot chocolate or relaxation teas. As soon as each person was satisfied with their boiling beverage, they went on to linger around the lawn from campfire to booth while chatting and calming their mid-quarter stress with friends.

Stressbusters held a captivating, colorful booth with a whimsical yet informative game of spin-the-wheel. Each question on the wheel provided beneficial tips and facts to “reduce day-to-day stress.” As a reward for answering a question correctly, students were given not just any regular old stress ball, but a stress brain. Stressbusters informed their peers of their available services such as providing presentations and workshops on stress management and relaxation techniques, while sharing helpful advice like the calming effects of the color blue.

Meanwhile, other booths gladly provided counseling pamphlets and helpful information on improving self-esteem and coping with depression, along with group therapy. The Well greatly emphasized the idea that no student is alone in their struggles; developing healthy self-esteem and learning to control your body’s responses will aid you in managing stress and anxiety. Along with these accessible tips were free (yes, free) scantrons, blue books and pencils to relieve students of the hassle of preparing for their exams.

If all this weren’t enough to revitalize one’s post- or pre-testing spirits, then the massage therapy definitely would have done it. With professional cushioned seats and well-practiced masseuses, anyone would surely be able to enjoy the deep back rubs enough to forget about their testing afflictions. The Well also provided a health booth to analyze one’s body mass. As if everything else weren’t enough, the Stress Relief Campfire definitely brought the whole package in soothing the soul and enlightening pupils on their physical, mental and emotional health.

The ultimate goal to help students cope with stressors was surpassed by great limits with the dozens of peers who appeared at the event for their personal advancement. The Stress Relief Campfire did more than “extinguish (one’s) mid-quarter stress,” they also revived students of their bright-eyed optimism and prepared them for a school year — if not a lifetime — of confident responses to stressful situations.