Africana studies held events the week before finals to help students relax and de-stress before their big exams, which take place Dec. 3-7.
On Tuesday, more than 40 students packed into room 215 in the Social Science Building to play board games, eat pizza, and relax. At the event, students engaged in a competitively fun-spirited game of Taboo, had a “heated” debate about who is the best R&B group in a game of Black Card Revoked, and used strategic skills in a quieter game of spades.
DeErik Reed, a junior Africana studies major who is one of the organizers for the events, felt that something like this was necessary to help students put their minds on something other than finals.
“A lot of times we think about finals, we think it’s the time to be the most stress… but to do activities like this—where you get to play games, you have more freedom to go into your finals with a better state of mind,” Reed said.
For many students, stress and anxiety is a big part of the college experience.
Christina Davis, professor of Africana studies and one of the advisers for the Africana Studies Organization, said it's important of having events like the game night to serve as a catalyst to teach students that mental health is important and to bring awareness to the impacts of self-care.
“The more that we talk about mental health issues, the more likely we are to address this problem as a whole in out black communities,” said Davis.
Davis also said the event was gratifying for her as a professor to be able to help relieve student from the pressure of classwork and the stresses from their personal lives.
“For me to see this, it makes my whole day. It makes everything feel like it’s going to be OK, even when it’s not—it can be a really tough week, but doing things like this makes everything OK,” said Davis.
Davis was not the only person who felt that these events help to fill a void for the students. Savannah State senior Nzinga Washington said she felt that coming to the game night was extremely helpful to help distract her from finals as a chemistry major.
“The events cater to me, giving me a fun space and fun environment. It’s a place to kick back with my friends and it makes me feel like my university and my peers really care about how I’m feeling," Washington said.
On Thursday night in a Student Union Ballroom, Africana studies dialed back on the energy from game night and held “Cupcakes and Conversations”. There were tea-infused cupcakes, as well as a tea bar filled with warm beverages to help the students to relax and enjoy a calm night of discussion about the issues that bring them stress during their college experience.
Topics such as finances, loyalty in friendships, classwork, and depression and anxiety were brought up. The more than 20 students gathered in a circle to share their meditation techniques, gave advice about how to cope with stress, and even told personal stories to help other students hear their stories to show that there not alone in the trials they face.
Reyvon Shemo, Africana studies senior, stumbled into the event and said that events like this are important because students need a safe place to talk about mental health.
“Mental health and mental pain is one of the worst pains ever. People need a space where people can talk about the mental stress there in,” said Shemo.
The “Cupcakes and Conversations” event was so successful, at the end of the discussion, organizer Jessica Marsh announced that the group plans on making it a regular event, holding it monthly next year.