“Pawsitivity” aims to alleviate stress


Sophia Desai, Staffer

     For students around the globe, finals are full of anxiety. The first traceable exam was invented in the 19th century and has been torturing students since. The pressure of finals can lead to students neglecting their mental and physical health to study. They experience a loss of sleep and social connection.

     While most families are getting ready to celebrate the holidays, students don’t have time to feel the cheer. The stress leads to breakdowns for many students.

     “I was so stressed and anxious, but I didn’t give myself time to express it. So one day… I just broke down in tears,” a student said.

     The stress caused by finals is a huge burden on OPRF students. HYPE, a club that aims to improve student mental health, implemented three “de-stress days” the week before finals. Activities included bracelet-making, Nintendo Wii, and therapy dogs, organized by HYPE sponsor Ginger Colamussi and HYPE’s members, including student leader and senior Parisa Gharavi.

     “We focus on promoting positive mental health,” says Colamussi. “At our meetings, we talk about improving students’ mental health.”

     Last year, Gharavi had two papers for her finals and had trouble dealing with her anxiety. She said, “OPRF had never had (therapy dogs) before,” so she decided to write a paper for her finals about why they should.

     Colamussi said of Gharavi’s paper, “she made a condensed and executive summary. I shared it with the administration and it got approved!”

     “Pawsitivity” was a huge success. Colamussi said she “felt like people were coming out of the dog room lifted up and beaming with positivity. We got tons of feedback from parents and students about how great it was.”

     However, many students weren’t able to see the dogs.

     “I was walking towards the gym where the dogs were and I started to see a huge line,” said junior Naahlyee Bryant, “I kept walking and there was another line in front of the other line. So I didn’t even bother, I went back to the cafeteria.”

     Colamussi said “this semester… we’re requesting more volunteers and dogs.”