by Alex Campbell
Some UAB students are happy with the institution-wide effort of Wellness Week, but others are skeptical of the actual benefits it is providing to students.
The university announced the first-ever UAB Wellness Week on Sept. 21. During the week of Oct. 17-21, professors are encouraged, though not required, to give their students a break from major assignments and exams. There are also a number of events throughout the week aimed at promoting the mental, physical and emotional health of UAB students and staff. “Wellness Week is an institution-wide initiative that highlights the university’s commitment to the health and well-being of the UAB family and empowers employees and students,” the event sponsors said in the statement announcing Wellness Week.
Micah Miller, a senior majoring in communication management, supports the idea of putting out more awareness about mental health struggles as well as having designated rest days as a collective show of attention from the university.
“I think a mental health week is a great idea. The emphasis and awareness are of major importance. I honestly wish we as a university — and even culture — had more tools like mental health weeks built into our lives to help us,” said Miller.
Gitendra Uswatte, a professor of psychology at UAB with a research interest in positive psychology, said he supports the idea of having rest before doing something hard. He thinks students can use this time to prepare for the rest of the semester.
“Rest is part of the journey. If you’re planning to climb a mountain and you don’t plan for rest breaks along the way, you’re probably not going to make it to the top. Taking that time to rest and recuperate is part of that journey,” said Uswatte.
Isabella Patten, a sophomore majoring in genetics and genomic sciences, feels Wellness Week could have a counterproductive effect. She said her professors have been moving assignments and tests to the days just before and after the week.
“I appreciate the thought behind Wellness Week, but to be honest, I would much prefer having a long weekend to rest,” said Patten.
Ysabel Calderon-Wyant, a first-year student with no declared major yet, echoed the sentiments of others around campus whose professors have deemed some assignments too hard to move.
“Wait, it’s Wellness Week? I had no idea! I have so many assignments!” said Calderon-Wyant.
If the focus is giving students a break, but assignments and exams are still happening close to and within the designated week, then is the goal of wellness misaligned with the needs of students?
Devonte Ward, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said Wellness Week is bad for students who are going through a lot of learning experiences in college. He said it is not fair to give new students several weeks of hard assignments only to then give them one week to recover and prepare for the second half of the semester.
“No, I don’t think Wellness Week is a good idea,” said Ward. “Wellness should be 24/7, 365 days. From the day you come out of the womb to the day you go into the ground, you should always be looking out for your wellness.”