Story by Joseph Ray
Photos courtesy of Jillian Wright | The Breeze
The stresses of tests, homework and extracurricular activities can make students feel trapped, which is why they must find ways to cope. JMU offers various resources and programs for students looking to de-stress. The University Recreation center o ers free access to all its facilities with one swipe of a JACard. UREC, in addition to a fitness center, houses a spa, a sauna, a meditation room and various other de-stressors.
UREC also offers about 130 free student-run group exercise classes a week. The classes range from boxing to yoga, allowing students to nd their perfect t. Cooking has become a favorite for many students, providing them with a stress-reliever, as well as a life skill. Holly Bailey, the assistant director for tness and wellness at UREC, says dancing classes are her favorite because they keep her mind at work, so she can ignore her stresses.
“If I’m thinking about the phone calls I need to make, I’m probably going to trip over my feet,” Bailey says. Mary Healy, the coordinator for group exercise at UREC, says everyone de-stresses differently. Some play basketball, some meditate and others go hiking, but students should nd their happy place on campus, and for many, that’s UREC. “The second that they open the front doors and they see the people at the welcome center, they’re going to know that this is a welcoming place,” Healy says.
Another welcoming place on campus for some is the Counseling Center in the Student Success Center. Sometimes physical exertion may not cut it, and students may just want someone to talk to. The Counseling Center o ers several individual and group therapeutic approaches to combatting all forms of stress.
Shirley Cobb, the associate director of the Counseling Center, says anxiety is the most common concern with students, followed by depression. She encourages students to contact friends, family and peers – or the Counseling Center – whenever these concerns arise. “The first few months of college can be some of the most stressful times in any person’s life,” Cobb says. The Counseling Center also offers pet therapy, which allows students to play with dogs to lower stress-levels. “People feel a connection to dogs,” Cobb says. “Dogs are man’s best friend.”
If UREC is too crowded, and the Counseling Center is not their cup of tea, students can also visit Madison Union. With various lounges, pool tables and several other services, Mark Cline, the associate director of Madison Union, says it’s a “sanctuary” for students. “We are here to serve the JMU community,” Cline says. “ e resources we have here are pretty much limitless.”
Taylor Down Under, Madison Union’s most popular attraction, holds programs throughout the week, which include open-mic nights and live entertainment. Gra on-Stovall eatre is also a chance for a study break, showcasing “right-out-of-the-movie- theater” movies Wednesday through Saturday for only $3.
Whether students are looking for somewhere to study, entertainment or a way to de-stress, Madison Union, with its tagline of “find your place,” may give them just that.
“If you come in and look one time, you’ll be back,” Cline says.