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Illinois University Attempts to De-Stress Its Brave but Struggling Students With Tricycles and LEGO

On June 6, 1944, members of the United States Armed Forces landed on Omaha Beach.

From the Warfare History Network:

As their landing craft plunged through heavy surf…it was obvious to the men of Company A, 116th Infantry Regiment, U.S. 29th Infantry Division that the coming hour would be the gravest test of their lives. … As the landing craft approached the beach, the soldiers inside could hear…machine-gun rounds striking the raised ramps. … As the ramps were lowered, the troops were fully exposed to the fury of the German machine guns. Many of the first men who exited…were slain… Their lifeless bodies toppled into the water. … Some men chose in their desperation to jump overboard instead of exiting the front of the craft. Once in the water where they were weighed down with their equipment, they faced a life-and-death struggle to keep their heads above water. They thrashed about… Those who could not get free of the loads drowned.

On November 16th and 17th, 2021, students at Eastern Illinois University were granted two days off for “mental health.”

Surely they needed it — they’d only had one summer off.

Plus, there’d been COVID and its death rate — as of December 2020before the vaccine was released — of 0.0002% for those 20-49 years of age.

In an attempt to alleviate unrelenting stress, students cuddled with dogs, rode big wheels, and played with LEGO.

Over the course of 70 years, a few things looked to have perhaps changed.

Prior to the college’s 48-hour fight in the battle against anxiety, EIU announced thusly:

We recognize that mental health issues have increased on our campus and the broader community similar to other universities across the country. These issues have undoubtedly been exacerbated by the lingering pandemic which continues to create uncertainty and stress for our students. We hear this every day from students and concerned colleagues.

“[S]tudents are accessing critical campus services such as the Counseling Center and Medical Clinic that support student wellness,” it noted.

Furthermore:

[W]e have received feedback from faculty, academic advisors, resident assistants, and tutors that the everyday challenges of navigating higher education are especially difficult this year for everyone.

Therefore, for two days, “[a]cademic classes [would] be canceled, and a variety of targeted, intentional, and focused wellness activities and educational events [would] be available for all students.”

Indeed — not only did the school give everyone a couple weekdays’ reprieve, it planned fun activities to assist in shaking off the blues.

For that Wednesday at 11:30 a.m., the docket looked like this:

  • Therapy Dogs
  • Meditation Space
  • Chair Yoga
  • Beginner Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Sleep Hygiene: Lavender
  • Resiliency: Stress Balls
  • Spa-On-the-Go Kits
  • Affirmation Cards
  • Journaling
  • Refreshments

The day before, 1:45 p.m. offered “Cocoa and Cookies,” “Big Pink Volleyball,” a frisbee-rific “KanJam,” and “Trike Races.”

If you’re unfamiliar with “trikes”:

EIU isn’t the first school to try and help its enrollees deal with the difficulties of the day:

But from all appearances, it definitely didn’t want to be outdone.

Hence, for additional support on the 17th, those ravaged by rigors at the college were treated to “I Scream for Ice Cream,” which included games, “relaxation over a tasty bowl of coldness,” and time playing with LEGO.

An hour and a half earlier, young adults were de-stressed by way of a “Words of Encouragement jar” and “coloring pages.”

Crayons also fought fatigue the day prior, as part of a “Diversi-Tea.”

Hopefully, after two days of coloring, tricycle riding, and ice cream, everyone could overcome hardship and go back to attending class.

Meanwhile, fingers are crossed that we won’t be forced into large-scale international combat any time soon.

If I had to guess, storming a beach would be difficult while shepherding emotional support animals.

Beyond that, gun triggers would necessitate trigger warnings, and it’d be hard to read those and affirmation cards while dodging enemy fire.

These days, just getting up and functioning is an enemy.

But thankfully, a brave new generation — comprised of America’s future leaders — is willing to fight in that war.

-ALEX

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