P.A.W.S. aids overwhelmed Baruch students with de-stress events


The Health & Wellness Center and P.A.W.S. are working to reduce stress caused by studying for midterms and finals by advising students on ways to relieve stress. Photo by Agata Poniatowski.

Peers Advocating Wellness Services, a group of students who belong to T.E.A.M. Baruch and work in Health & Wellness, has set up de-stress events throughout the semester to help overwhelmed Baruch students.

The first event, entitled DIY Stress Balls, was hosted by Tina Rose Echeverria, a sophomore and member of P.A.W.S. The event took place during club hours on Oct. 25 in the Bearcat Den. The de-stress station in the Den had been plastered with balloons, flour and funnels. As students approached the table, Echeverria instructed them to take a balloon and scoop flour into it through the funnel. She urged the students to knead the flour into the balloon to avoid clumps.

When asked how this idea came into her head, Echeverria said that one of the stress balls in the P.A.W.S. office inspired her.

“I had these types of ideas before but this one came about because we had [a stress ball] in the office already and it broke so we just thought, ‘Hey, why not make a new one?’”

In the end, the station attracted crowds of students who wanted to partake in the activity.

“Some people got really into it. One girl’s ball ended up being huge. The ball gives, but not too much, which is nice. It’s a great way to physically expel the stress onto an inanimate object,” Echeverria added.

Julie Bien-Aine, a freshman at Baruch, indicated that making her own stress ball proved useful.

“I liked making the stress ball because at work, I deal with frustrating customers. They’re just upset by the price. I work at a Dollar Tree, so everything is a dollar. The customers will get ten items and they’ll ask why it comes out to $10.52,” said Bien-Aine.

Bien-Aine mentioned that she feels as though the workload at school is starting to pile up and, at times, it can become too much to handle.

Stress, especially at Baruch, mostly accumulates around the middle and end of each semester, especially since midterms and finals can generate or add onto existing mental pressure. P.A.W.S. revolves around alleviating stressful scenarios for students who need help and guiding students to find ways to relieve stress on their own. A student may want to discuss options for time management or receive relationship advice.

Stress can easily lead to the development of other physical and mental health problems. Services offered by the Health & Wellness Center and by P.A.W.S. representatives can help students reduce unnecessary stress and channel it into something more soothing, such as a stress ball.

Midterms and finals motivate the members of P.A.W.S. to create and host events in which students can directly participate and learn about dealing with and handling patterns of stress. Most of the stress-relieving events occur around this time of the year.

Bien-Aine said that when it comes to combatting stress, she enjoys listening to music and reading. Echeverria has a similar strategy that requires her to enter another world and suspend the stressful factors that await her in reality.

“I de-stress by remembering to make time for myself. I’m not a machine, I can’t keep going and going without a break. I like to read as an escapism or go to events around the city. Last week I took a break from accounting and went to a Halloween dog parade which was amazing,” said Bien-Aine.

Jennifer DiRusso, a senior and P.A.W.S. representative, disclosed that her personal strategy to alleviate stress primarily consists of scrolling through various dog pages on social media. The Facebook page titled Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary is her favorite to browse.

In October, P.A.W.S. representatives held two more events to ease overworked students. DiRusso held 10 Ways to De-Stress and Teamare Gaston, another P.A.W.S. representative, hosted Tea Bar with Teamare.

Echeverria mentioned that there will be other events focused on reducing or eliminating stress.

A free yoga session will be offered in the game room every Thursday during club hours. P.A.W.S. also plans to hold a health fair and give free massages to students around finals week in December.