By Jensen Kugler
Above: Freshman Mukta Pillai, Anakha Shah and Victoria Finizio work on their vision grids.
On Friday, Jan. 12, Student Engagement held a de-stress event called “Positively Fantastic Friday” that offered a variety of crafts meant to help students mindfully move into the new year.
Gabby Hiller, assistant director of student engagement, expressed that the office wanted to provide students an opportunity to set goals or intentions for the year in “a relaxed type of way.”
Students had the opportunity to create a vision board for the year, decorate a moss art kit, unwind with motivational coloring pages and sit in on a bullet journaling class.
The program’s inclusion of bullet journaling gave students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the practice. Bullet journaling is a form of journaling that uses bullets and symbols to organize ideas, tasks and schedules. Bullet journal pages resemble a grid of dots or “bullets” and come in a variety of sizes and colors. While guidelines exist for bullet journaling, it is a highly personal practice that looks different for each person.
“We were getting a lot of feedback that students like bullet journaling, and they like to journal, so we thought if we could get an instructor to kind of teach the basics of bullet journaling and provide the supplies, that would be a good way to kick off [the year],” said Hiller. “Bullet journaling is a little more creative because you have that freedom to draw on the pages. It’s maybe a little more of a creative outlet than just writing on pages.”
There were two bullet journaling classes, one at 8:15 p.m. and another at 9:30 p.m., that gave students loose guidelines and prompts to follow. Instructor Amanda Stewart offered a variety of reflective questions for participants to explore in their journals, including “What makes me feel happy and relaxed?” and “What is stopping me from taking care of myself?” She established a distinct connection between bullet journaling and self-care throughout the class.
“It was a fun night. We got free notebooks. It was very relaxing, very informal,” said Mukta Pillai ’27.
Students appreciated the combination of freedom and organization that bullet journaling enables. “I enjoyed customizing the cover of my notebook and I enjoyed the sense of organization bullet journaling gave me,” said Raegan Herdman ’27.
In addition to bullet journaling, participants enjoyed decorating their “vision grids” and coloring the available coloring pages. As part of the vision grid programming, Student Engagement provided Polaroid cameras so that students could take pictures of and with their friends to use in their projects. Student Engagement provided all of the necessary materials for each craft, but students also had the freedom to continue creating after the event. This encouraged the continued cultivation of the positive environment Student Engagement wants to build for students.
The Office of Student Engagement aims to be constantly evolving, which includes bringing in new faces. Hiller joined them last May, and has had an overwhelmingly positive experience so far. She feels that Wooster has a uniquely positive atmosphere. It is important to her that this community is bolstered and supported by school programming, which she can ensure through her work with the office.
“Everybody that I’ve met has been extremely welcoming, and that’s across the board — students, staff, everybody is very friendly,” said Hiller. “I love working with students and this office, you know, that’s what it does, it plans events, it works with students and that’s something I really like in higher ed.”
Those who missed Positively Fantastic Friday will have several opportunities to engage with Student Engagement programming before the school year ends. The office hosts a variety of events throughout the year, such as last semester’s “Barbie” movie night and 80’s party with roller skating. For students interested in checking out Student Engagement, therapy dogs or both, don’t miss Student Engagement’s next monthly “Pause for Paws” event coming up on Feb. 1.