Reboot the College Experience Workshop

By Victoria Moussot
February 20, 2017

Feeling stressed? Gaining the freshmen fifteen? Are you ready to cry, scream, or kick someone? It’s true, stress is a killer. As college students we all experience varying degrees of stress. We hear that it is important to take care of our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. We know stress should not be allowed to overwhelm us, contaminate our relationships, or destroy our grades. But how? At Reboot the College Experience Workshop, run by Ms. Wilson from STAC’s Mental Health and Counseling office, Ms. Wilson presented two easy methods to help anyone understand and cope with stress.

First, Ms. Wilson had participants do a fun exercise called The Flat Above the Shop. Students drew a house with three levels. The first level was a street level store with a picture window, the second level held the shop-owner’s living quarters, and the third level was private attic space. This building is a metaphor used to guide participants in exploring their innerspace. The window shop level represents the questions  “who are your “customers” or who do you allow into your life? Are these “customers” bankrupting you? Or are they a good investment helping you grow your business?” The second level is not generally open to the public. It is the living quarters, which represent our family, friends, interests, and hobbies. On this level students were asked to think about “how they would feel about sharing their homey, comfortable space with someone new? Or, if they wanted to exclude anyone from their home space?” The last level, the attic, represented the secret place inside of each person. That is the intimate area where we need self-reflection to decide questions like, “would you hide anything before allowing someone to enter? What is the atmosphere in your private space?”

Ms. Wilson suggested that writing thoughts about each level is a therapeutic way to reflect on how to identify and understand factors that cause us to feel stressed. As a result, helpful thoughts and solutions are able to subdue the confusion and help tame those stressors.

Next, Ms. Wilson had participants work on an exercise called My Plan for Developing and Maintaining Healthy Relationships with Myself and Others. Students identified their struggles and learned where to get support. Participants took control of their inner chaos and listed some easy actions to improve their physical, mental, social, academic, and spiritual health.

Both the approach and the simple action plan were empowering. Dealing with stress can feel like a daunting task. It cannot always be ignored or avoided, and sometimes we need a helping hand. The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) team here at STAC offers important help for students. I hope you take advantage of their advice to conquer the stress.