Chardin's Second Newsletter!
Fall Quarter 2014
Relaxation Techniques for the Stressed-Out Student
With midterms in our rear-view mirror, we at SU are once again laughing, sleeping, socializing and dancing (Fall ball!). Wouldn’t you like to feel like your normal self all the time though? Because of hectic schedules, tests, homework, financial pressure (all those student loans and hard earned money), as well as sheer determination to do well, the average college student walks around with an enormous burden on their back. The American College Health Association found in 2009 that 85% of all US college students felt “overwhelmed,” “exhausted” (80%), “ very sad,” (60%), “very lonely” (56%), “overwhelming anxiety” (47%), “hopeless” (46%), “overwhelming anger” (37%), and so depressed that it was difficult to function (30%). Another 6% reported that they had seriously considered suicide. These findings are truly concerning. Short of changing the entire schooling system in the US, what can we do to handle these overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression?
I am proud to be a part of a program that reaches out to students and provides a place for transfer and commuter students to socialize, which hopefully helps with feelings of loneliness and sadness. But what about anxiety and suicidal thoughts? First of all, if you or someone you know is considering suicide, please do something immediately. You can call the SU CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) at 206-296-6090 and report your situation as urgent. You can also call SU public safety (emergency number) at 206-296-5911, or 911. Any SU student can make a non-emergency appointment with CAPS as well.
If you are looking for techniques to control your anxiety, there are an abundance of methods available. Test anxiety (which can lead to an inability to perform well even if the student understands the material), insomnia, perseveration, inexplicable panic, social anxiety, nausea, chills, sweating dizziness, as well as chest pain or palpitations are all symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety comes and goes, but if left uncontrolled becomes often chronic and can worsen or lead to depression. The first step to controlling is anxiety is to realize that you have anxiety and that it can be managed. This is not to say that it is possible to never have anxiety, but it can be nipped in the bud before it begins to spiral out of control and affect your day-to-day life. The following recommendations are non-pharmacological approaches to managing anxiety. Not all methods will work for everyone, but usually at least one method will be helpful. Use these methods before tests, before sleep (to reduce insomnia), or anytime you need to relax and focus.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: This method is useful for people who experience significant physical symptoms of anxiety such as muscle soreness, back pain, grinding of teeth, etc. It involves sitting or lying in a quiet place, with or without soothing music, and going through the whole body tightening and then relaxing every muscle. Take about 20-30 minutes for this practice each day.
- Autogenic training: Similar to progressive relaxation, but instead of tightening and relaxing the muscles, imagine a sensation of warmth and heaviness slowly moving from your toes to your head. Again, take your time and do not rush.
- Imagery: This is especially helpful for those who experience cognitive anxiety (anxious thoughts versus physical symptoms). Lay down or sit in a quiet place with or without music and imagine a place that you have felt very relaxed and peaceful in the past. Imagine that you are there right now, that the sun is warming your body or that air is moving pleasantly around your body. The more details you can add to your image, the better your experience will be.
- Belly breathing: For people who have trouble controlling their thoughts enough to meditate or use imagery and who frequently find themselves using a staggered, erratic breath. Breathing involves involuntary movement of your diaphragm to inhale and passive (no energy required) exhalation, but when we are stressed out (or exercising), we also recruit our chest muscles to force breath out instead of letting passively flow out. This can cause chest pain, tiredness, and exacerbate anxiety. To help control it, place one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Breathe in and try to only move your belly (your diaphragm) and keep your chest still. Use deep breaths and continue for 20-30 minutes. When you have relaxed, you can combine this with any of the above relaxation methods.
- Meditation: Types of meditation vary and include some types of prayer, repetitive chants, or simply sitting quietly and pushing all thoughts out of your mind. It can take time to become proficient.
- Yoga: Some types of yoga focus less on strength building and more on meditation and relaxing postures.
- Diet and exercise: This is the foundation of your health. Without a good diet and physical activity, most other methods of anxiety control will fall short. Eat the right amount of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, and calcium sources. Limit saturated fat and sugar, and make it a point to go outdoors every day for sunlight and exercise.
- Social life: Dedicate at least a few minutes every day to interacting with your friends, family, or significant other. Even if you feel like you are in a situation where you have no one to talk to, find a place where you can talk to people. It may be scary or uncomfortable at first, but over time it will be rewarding. Smile, introduce yourself to classmates, and realize that everyone else probably wants to make friends as well.
Collegia-Wide Rules: A Friendly Reminder
We are halfway through the quarter! As we delve deeper into the quarter and get incredibly busy, it is good to look back and remember all those handy dandy commitments you all signed in agreement with!
- I will use the campus card reader every time I enter the Collegium!
- I will honor the no cell phone usage policy of the Collegia Program! (I will take phone calls outside)
- I will demonstrate respect for self, other and the Collegium Community:
I. Responding in a timely and respectful manner to requests from CCLs
II. Keep discussions at a respectful level; avoid yelling, please!
III. Keep our space welcoming and safe by avoiding remarks that could be construed as harassment or discrimination.
IV. Remember those earphones when listening to music or watching Netflix!
- I will demonstrate respect and care for the physical environment!
I. Keep remembering to clean up after yourself!
II. Remember to bring back Cherry Street Market and/or Hawk’s Nest Bistro dishes to those facilities!
III. Do not take any dishes, mugs, or cutlery out of the collegium! Remember to always return any stationary you use!
IV. Remember to pay for beverages and snacks at the honor bar!
And of course, remember these additional rules as well:
- Guests: Members may bring a guest into the Collegium who attends Seattle University and/or may be a member of another collegium.
- Remember to keep labeling your food and putting your dishes in the dishwasher!
- We are a mixed-use space! You may socialize and study, but always be aware of your fellow members! If you need a silent place to study, head on over to the Lemieux Library and Learning Commons J
We are so happy to have you all be a part of the community! Happy November!
Staff Spotlight: Ran Chang
I had the opportunity to get to know Ran more throughout the past several weeks and decided to showcase her for this newsletter! Lookout for staff spotlights of our other CCLs in upcoming newsletters!
Age: 24 years old
Place of birth: Beijing, China
Program of Study: Graduate Accounting Program in the Alber’s Business School
Ran moved to Seattle in September of 2013, after graduating from the University of Colorado, Denver. Her undergraduate degree was in Economics. She said that the weather is so much more different in Colorado compared to here in Seattle, because the sun appears almost 300 days/year there. Ran’s favorite part of autumn is seeing the color of leaves changing. Her favorite colors are yellow and orange. Ran doesn’t mind the rain that is definitely present in Seattle, but doesn’t like the wind. When it is gross out, Ran likes to watch action movies with friends. She is really looking forward to the new Fast and Furious movie coming to theaters. She is a huge fan of James Bond films.
So far, Ran’s favorite part of the school year has been about right now: the time period between Midterms and Final Exams. She went to the Woodland Park Zoo last week and said that her favorite animals were giraffes. Possibly because they are of her favorite colors! This past summer, Ran went to Leavenworth and explored the quaint, German town. She also went to Wenatchee over the summer and went cherry picking. She had a lovely time. She said her favorite part of being a CCL is getting to know a variety of people from around campus. When asked if she purchases any items from the honor bar, she responded with saying gummy bears! She isn’t a huge fan of Coca-Cola, and prefers Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. But those aren’t offered in honor bar, unfortunately. This Thanksgiving, Ran is going to Las Vegas with friends from middle school. She is very excited to explore another part of the country!
Ran is hosting her first program as a CCL the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Break, November 25th from 11am-1pm. She will bring in supplies and ingredients for decorating cookies!
Non-Traditional Students' Week (November 2nd-8th)
Since Non-Traditional Students' Week just passed, here is a reflection on what this week means to the Collegium Program and the rest of Seattle University!
Who are non-traditional students?
- Students at least 25 years old
- Married, have families, or are single parents
- Working professionally without previously completed their degree
- Returning students (took a few years off from school)
- People returning from military service
Non-Traditional Students are a vibrant part of the Seattle University community bringing to the campus important life experience that enhances the in and out of classroom experience for others. “Non-trads” often model for other students a strong commitment to their education because of their an ability to juggle a myriad of responsibilities and share wisdom that comes from additional life experience.
When asking “What unique experiences do you bring to SU?” Members in Chardin replied:
“Even improbable friendships can happen.”
“While I was away from school, I learned that discomfort is an opportunity to build my tolerance for discomfort.”
“Being involved in Student Alumni Ambassadors (Student Club)”
“Know how to make a good cup of tea.”
Resources for Non-Traditional Students in Seattle University
- Association for Non-Traditional Students in Higher Education (ANTSHE)
- An international partnership of students, academic professionals, institutions, and organizations whose mission is to encourage and coordinates support, education, and advocacy for the adult learner.
- The Collegia Program
- Collegia spaces offer home-like environments, in which students can renew themselves between classes, meet with classmates and faculty in a relaxed setting, have conversations with friends, enjoy a snack or join in a special activity. The McGoldrick Collegium is home to non-traditional students.
- Commuter Meal Plans
- Dinning Places on campus:
- The Cherry Street Market on the 2nd floor of the Student Center
- The Hawk’s Net Bistro on the 3rd floor of the Student Center
- The Sidebar in the Sullivan Law Center
- The Bottom Line in the Piggott Atrium
- Lockers and Showers
- Lockers are available for a fee for $20/quarter, $30/two quarters, or $50 for the academic year. To sign up for one, stop by the Campus Assistance Center (CAC) on the first floor of the Student Center.
- Showers are located at the west end of the first floor of the Student Center. To get access to these showers, please contact Campus Card / Public Safety, let them know you are a commuter student and to add the shower access to your card. Once you are in the system, just swipe your card to get in. There are additional showers available at the Connolly Center, the recreation/athletics center, located at the corner of 14th and E. Cherry. Bring your Campus Card for access.
- Parking and Transportation
- Contact Department of Public Safety for more information on Parking and Transportation. The Department of Public Safety is located in the University Services Building.
- Other Campus Services
- Commuter and Transfer Student Life
- The Office of Multicultural Affairs
- Graduate Student Council
- The International Student Center
- New Student & Family Programs
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
- Disabilities Services