March 10, 2021
On February 24 and 26, the School of Engineering and Architecture (SEA) launched RelaxSEAtion, a mental health break online event for SEA students and professors.
Under the umbrella of RelaxSEAtion, the General Engineering Department conceptualized ReFRESHMENT. The event convenes freshmen students and their professors in Zoom meetings per class. ReFRESHMENT is a non-academic activity that focuses on addressing the mental health issues of SEA freshmen students through fun activities and heartfelt sharing of experiences during this time of pandemic. It opened an avenue for students to connect and relate with their classmates. It also expanded the students’ acquaintance with their professors outside an academic setup. One to two faculty facilitators were assigned to each class to act as the host/s of the program. The hour and a half event were spent with a Kahoot game, refreshment session, and filling out survey forms.
Twenty-two freshmen classes followed the same program during their scheduled time. It started with a prayer and immediately followed by the exciting Kahoot game. Kahoot! Is a game-based learning platform that brings educational technology to schools. Majority of the survey respondents like most Kahoot games.
“The games washed away the bad vibes,” according to an aeronautical engineering student when asked about the part of the activity the students like most. In a similar question, a freshman from 1CE-102 shared, “I enjoyed the games! This activity somehow relaxed and distracted me with all of my worries.”
The Kahoot game questions were designed to bring excitement and fun through various trivia questions. It covers logical questions and general information like sports, politics, geography, entertainment, and anything under the sun. The students were mind-frozen when asked about their relationship with the sibling of the child of their father who is a guy. “I like how unpredictable the questions in Kahoot Games,” said another aeronautical engineering student from 1AE-101.
The refreshment session was the second part of the event. In this session, facilitators asked their students how they are doing, what distracts them in online learning, and how they are coping up. The conversation brought new topics which are not the typical questions in an online academic classroom.
“I was able to get to know more about my classmate's and professor's life and I have come to realize that we are all having a hard time especially during this pandemic,” an electronics engineering student said, “I also realized that I am not alone, everyone has their own battle to face.”
The sharing part of the event built an environment where students felt the concern from the department and their professors about their mental health. “Yung thought na iniisip nila yung nararamdaman namin at kino-consider,” shared by a student from 1AE-103 class. The refreshment session also created an impact on a student from 1AE-107 class when answered “I like how they are fully determined on making the students not feel isolated and be relaxed. Giving an aura or vibe that makes you comfortable at all times.”
The simple activity which started from an idea and executed through team efforts resulted in a simple transformative experience both for students and faculty members. “I like the sharing part because I am able to say what I feel and it helped me to lessen the worthlessness that I am feeling,” as opened by another aeronautical engineering student. Additionally, a general engineering faculty said, “It served as a way to refocus,” referring to the entire event with students.
Survey questions were distributed to freshmen students and faculty members. The survey was geared towards the participant’s assessment of their mental wellbeing. It is noteworthy that SEA’s freshmen students and their professors have average mental wellbeing at a rating of 24.30, considering 35 to be the highest in Short Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale.
The department is planning to continue the ReFRESHMENT event with the intention to improve it further, following the suggestions of students like extending the duration of the event and improving the attendance of the participants.