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Wednesday, June 7, 2023


UH soft opening ‘eased a lot of stress,’ some students say


Gerald Sastra/ The Cougar

This semester UH announced a soft opening for the first few weeks of school in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which some students said increased their wellness and eased some of their stress.

As a result, these students have found ways to help their mental wellbeing since the transition from online to back to in-person this year. 

“The soft opening has allowed for more flexibility for students to manage their school work, class schedule and extracurriculars,” said junior accounting Maisha Walker. “It has been a way to ease into the school year given the dramatic change and stress everybody has been through during the past year and a half.”

The discourse within Texas regarding masks and the COVID-19 vaccine raised concern for some UH community members on how the rest of the school year will go once all classes are at full density. 

“I feel the soft opening eased a lot of stress for people who are worried about how Harris County is doing with case numbers right now,” said sociology senior Liz Nguyen. “It feels really counterproductive to take that option away now.”

Reuben Parrish, the director of UH Wellness, shared five tips on handling the semester; trying to get 8-10 hours of sleep, being physically active, meditating, getting physical checkups at the doctor’s office and focusing on your nutrition. 

“Being mindful and taking time out to breathe, especially since the semester has been overwhelming because of COVID,” Parrish said. 

The UH Wellness staff hosts free weekly meditation sessions on Thursdays between 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m., where students and staff can sit quietly and reflect. Their goal is to provide a safe space for mental and emotional development. 

With the uncertainty of the pandemic and UH welcoming back students this fall, there is a greater push for emotional support during these times. 

“We want to provide all these services, programs and outreach events that allow students to partake and learn about how they can improve their wellbeing,” Parrish said.

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