The last week of the semester is fast approaching and exam season isn’t too far behind as well. Stress levels amongst students at UTM are at an all-time high and all study spaces are jam-packed. During times like these, it is extremely important for students to take a moment to relax and let loose so that their mental and physical health isn’t compromised. Fortunately, the HCC at UTM understands that students need to take a break from studying. Every year they host a wide variety of de-stressing events and activities. The HCC provides UTM students with services such as, but not limited to, medical care, counseling and psychiatric care, and health education and promotion. On Tuesday, November 27 they hosted their annual ‘Meet-a-friend Café.’

The presentation room at the Student Centre was bustling with activity. Some students were busy partaking in creative activities, while others were lounging on chairs with a plate of food in their hands. Sara Khan, a community outreach ambassador for the HCC, explained that there were different stations set up for each activity. “We have a hot chocolate station where students can make their own hot chocolate, or have it wrapped to be given as a gift. We then have the arts and crafts station followed by the gingerbread house decoration station and then the board games section towards the corner.”

Abbey, another wellness ambassador for the HCC, was working the educational table towards the corner. “I’m in charge of informing people about Seasonal Affective Disorder, so I’ve created a game where people basically have to sort between a list of myths and facts about SAS according to their knowledge. It’s an effective way to educate students about something that’s so common,” she said. Apart from this, the event itself was held to help students de-stress during this hectic time. In terms of turn out, Abbey was hoping more people would come out since the event was also CCR approved, but she and the team were quite pleased that a good number of students participated.

Laura, a second-year CCIT major, was one of the students who turned up for the event. Busy creating an origami panda, Laura stated that she loves to partake in creative activities and when she heard this event was taking place, she just had to show up. On being asked about what motivated her to show up, she stated that “it depends on how busy and stressed a student is. I didn’t have much to do today so I showed up, but if I had been busy, then I probably wouldn’t have come.” Fatima, a first-year student going into commerce, was really enjoying the craft-based activities. “I have an hour before class starts so I decided to stop by and have some food and decorate some cookies.” She felt that since there are a lot of events going on, students end up getting overwhelmed and end up not coming. “I think the advertising needs to be worked on because I only saw a flyer today and so I decided to show up with my friends,” she continued.

The event, which ran for a total of four hours, saw quite a lot of students attend and they ended up having a good time. Many students also felt that it was an effective event that managed to help them de-stress.