Sensory bags help students combat stress from semester

Nicholas Zotos | staff writer. Students prepare stress bags in the Nite Spot to help those during finals week.

Nicholas Zotos | staff writer

Nov. 18, 2021

With the holiday season approaching, anxiety associated with final exams is still present. Students have been figuring out new ways to combat this stress.

On Nov. 14, in the Student Union NiteSpot, Duquesne pharmacy students Amanda Kearns, Kahlee Hall and Madelyn Ardnt hosted a Service Sunday event where they made sensory stress relief bags for finals. 

The sensory stress relief bags were made with the intent on helping students during finals week, and to also provide an outlet for many individuals to volunteer. 

“We had a large number of people show up. It was a great turnout. After we are done making these stress bags, we will hand them to students outside during finals week,” Kearns said.  

The contents of each bag corresponds to an individual’s senses — in other words, there is a small fragrance bag for smell, a packet of Green Tea Mix for taste, and numerous key chains for manual dexterity. 

“The aim of each bag is to encourage students to take a break from studying and their phones,” Ardnt said. “Oftentimes, we think that scrolling social media is a form of relaxation, but in reality it’s not. We want our fellow students to engage with each item and use them to decrease anxiety.”  

Arndt said that to keep students engaged each item included in the bag corresponded to a sensory perception.  

The event coordinators are a part of a group of students interested in joining The College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP.) This organization, which represents over 2,000 healthcare professionals, seeks to advance the quality of care in treating patients living with psychiatric, neurologic, and substance use disorders. All three event coordinators spoke highly about this organization and how their event, making sensory stress relief bags, mirrors the organization’s effort in decreasing numerous psychiatric disorders. 

While this endeavor may be beneficial for the many students receiving these bags during finals week, it was helpful to the volunteers as well. 

“I’m excited to help out because finals week is stressful,” Hall said. “It’s nice to do something to help others. I think everyone here is having a great time and we all would help out again if we had the opportunity.”  

Approximately 15 students attended the event. It was scheduled for an hour, but due to the high turnout, the event ended in half that time. 

Now that the bags are prepped and ready for finals, they will be distributed to the general student population in three weeks.  

“Anyone can receive a bag,” Arndt said. “We want all students on campus to engage with this effort. When finals begin, make sure to receive a sensory bag and take some time to relax.”