As students, it can be easy to get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of day-to-day activities. Trying to balance classes, friends, and everything in between can be overwhelming and exhausting at the same time. Oftentimes, I find myself getting lost in the moment, and in these times it is important to remember to step back and take time for myself. Many other students seem to feel the same way, and one of the ways that I have observed students dealing with this daily stress is by going to the quiet room. The quiet room, which is right next to Mrs. Snowden’s office, was introduced by the Health and Wellness Initiative and has provided a space for students to step back from their busy lives and decompress.
This month, I was curious about what prompted the school to make this new addition to our campus, and I wanted to learn about how it has been beneficial to students. I spoke with Mrs. Snowden, the school guidance counselor, and Mrs. Hulme, the Director of Health and Wellness. They both believe that the quiet room has been extremely beneficial for students, and hope that it will continue to be used for many years to come.
When speaking with Mrs. Hulme, I was curious about what motivated her and Mrs. Snowden to create the quiet room. Mrs. Hulme explained, “In the spring of 2017, representatives of Duke Integrative Medicine came when we were first beginning our Health and Wellness Initiative. They asked a lot of questions of students, faculty, and alumnae and it gave us a lot of information about what some of the needs were that students had. One of the things that came back in that assessment was the need for a quiet space.” Mrs. Hulme read the assessment to me, which stated that “students indicated a desire for such spaces for reflection, relaxation, and time away from the daily bustle.”
After this assessment, Mrs. Snowden quickly took it upon herself to create this space when she came to Santa Catalina. Mrs. Snowden explained, “It became apparent to me as a counselor that the students needed a place to just decompress that doesn’t have to do with studying or classes; just a quiet place to have some solitude and kind of pull it together. So at the end of last year, when some of the seniors were moving out, Ms. Busch and I raided the senior dump. Most of the stuff in the quiet room was donated.”
When asked about how she has seen the quiet room being used, Mrs. Snowden eagerly replied, “I think a lot of times, girls come in and they’re emotional, and they want to talk to me but there’s nowhere to go because I’m talking to someone. It can work as a sort of waiting room, and it’s also a way for girls to just calm themselves down. I think it’s been very beneficial. It’s a place for girls to escape and have some privacy, which you can’t do anywhere else on campus. It’s a nice private room for girls to just collect themselves. And girls can also rest here. There’s something to be said about just taking thirty minutes to reset and relax.” Mrs. Hulme added, “We’ve noticed that students are using it if they have ten extra minutes and they just want to be in a quiet space to slow down, stop, and reflect. Students are using it if they have a free period and just want to pull back for a little.”
As for how this space has been received by the student body, many have said they find the quiet room to be calming and peaceful. One student describes, “I love [the quiet room] because it makes me feel really comfortable and cozy when I’m stressed out after a long day of school. It’s a really great place to relax. It’s helpful because it gives me time away from school to clear my mind. I would for sure recommend it!” She also adds, “There’s playdough, fuzzy blankets, and relaxing things for me to do. As a student, it can be hard to find time to relax so I like the quiet room a lot.” If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, try spending a few minutes in the quiet room. Taking the time to step back, reflect, and relax is essential for mental health, and the quiet room is a perfect place to do this. Thanks to the hard work of Mrs. Hulme, Mrs. Snowden, and Ms. Busch, our demand for a quiet space has been met. Hopefully, it will continue to be accessible to students for many years to come.