Halfway to the end of the quarter (and halfway to spring break!), we encountered the dreaded midterm week of Winter Quarter. With most first years still in the middle of recruiting and most second years trying to fight senioritis, this is notoriously one of the most challenging weeks of your two year experience at Booth. However, there is always plenty of support from the school as well as your friends to get through this difficult time. This year, GBC organized our inaugural Health and Wellness Week — full of fun, educational, and stress-relieving activities to encourage physical as well as mental health and well-being.
Every morning of the week started with meditation exercises and free coffee in the Winter Garden. We learned different techniques such as breathing meditation, body scan meditation, walking meditation, dynamic breathing meditation, and guided imagery meditation to help us center ourselves during midterms.
Additionally, every evening we offered a free workout class at one of the boutique fitness studios around the city. We took yoga, spinning, and high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes at Barry’s Bootcamp, SoulCycle, Shred 415, Studio Three, and Lakeshore Fitness!
In conjunction with the general University of Chicago’s Better Together campaign, Health and Wellness Week kicked off with Dean Kole’s Coffee Hour. The Better Together campaign was created by the Wellness Advisory Board (WAB) to emphasize the importance of students connecting with one another to strengthen their emotional wellness.
The week continued with Professor Epley giving a talk during lunch about “Heaven is Other People” to a packed room!
One of the most powerful events of the week was the AFG (Armed Forces Group) and OUTreach (Booth’s LGBT group) joint “Courage to Reach Out” panel. On the surface, it may seem that these groups have nothing in common, but both of these populations are disproportionately affected by mental health issues. Current students from both groups shared some of their personal experiences and encouraged people to reach out and ask for help. Check out the Chi Bus recap here.
The last major event of the week was Open Mic Night hosted in conjunction with AudioBooth. With a coffee shop vibe, students were able to express themselves through whatever means they wanted such as singing, poetry, or playing an instrument. It was impressive how much pure, raw talent we had at our school!
Overall, it was an incredibly successful week with great attendance. Through the group exercise classes and the honest conversations about mental health, you were really able to feel the tight-knit community aspect of the Booth community outside of classes. There are so many opportunities to get to know your fellow classmates on a deeper level that everyone feels supported even though we are a student body of almost 1200 students.
This week also illustrated the giving back culture and how much autonomy we are given to create programming and plan events for the school. Having been through the stressful recruiting process during the first year, a group of second years really spearheaded the effort to make Health and Happiness Week happen. Thanks to all the time and hard work from GBC members as well as all the partner student groups for organizing and pulling off this amazing event!