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Health and Wellness Week

Barbara Harmon

Health and Wellness Week at Volunteer State Community College has been successful.

The purpose of this week was to bring awareness to both mental and physical well-being, and to show the students options for achieving this.

Vickie Dretchen, Associate Professor of Psychology, gave an informative presentation on differentiating between anxiety and stress and how to successfully cope with them, she said.

“Number one would be time management.  To learn what time management is, and to incorporate those strategies,” said Dretchen.

She said developing study skills is very important and needs to be implemented into a time management program.

Dretchen said she does feel that students at Vol State are stressed.

“If you take into consideration the schoolwork, in and of itself, then 90 percent of our students work.

“A lot of them are parents, even among the parents a lot of them are single parents,” said Dretchen.

She also said that their social life needs to be considered as a possible form of stress.

“What I’m most concerned about is our students not getting enough sleep, and that worries me because of the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

“It impairs your ability to learn, your ability to recall, your ability to concentrate, your ability to focus—all the things you need to do well on a test or take in a lecture,” said Dretchen.

She said she advices her students to have a helpful outlook on their college careers.

“Even though earning a degree is positive stress, it is still not going to be something you are going to be doing for the rest of your life.

“I just try to tell my students, ‘look, go ahead while you’re here, do what you need to do to get your degrees and you’re laying the foundation for a better life, for the rest of your life,’” said Gretchen.

She said she feels this week has been very beneficial and has created awareness.

“We will have covered it all—healthy eating, optimism, stress and anxiety, and even exercise—in four days,” said Gretchen.

Kenny E. Yarbrough, Th.D., CDP, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said that they have had a Health and Wellness Fair for two years, but this year they decided to pair up with the Social Science and Education Division, which normally has a mental health week in their department, so the two thought their efforts would go good together.

“I think it is important to show the student body that both academic affairs and student services are able to partner and bring programming that is relative and relevant, and to make sure that they know we have a united front, and that is that we are always concerned about students,” said Yarbrough.

This week was an effort to bring awareness to students, because of how unhealthy people generally are in today’s society—mentally and physically, he said.

“The students have been engaged and we have had good crowds,” said Yarbrough.

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said that she has noticed a big difference in attendance this year, which she contributes to the partnership.

She said all the seats were filled to hear Odell Bizzell on Tuesday and that the week has been a great success.

“I think this has helped [the students] think about health and wellness from a different perspective,” said Sherrell.

She said students even inquired about the juicing process from Yarbrough and recorded Dretchen’s presentation on their phones.

“It gets you looking at your life in a different way,” said Sherrell.


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