Plant Therapy Eases Finals Pressure

Outside Bard Hall last week, more than 50 students took a break from their studies to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty, on the Center for Student Wellness Planting Day.

The students, many still in white coats, packed Mason jars with soil to pot ivy and polka-dot plants.

“I was coming back from shadowing in the operating room, when I saw people outside potting plants,” said Lucy Li, a first-year P&S student who stopped by.  “It’s great to spend some time in the sunlight with friends and pot a plant. I also have a terrarium I made at another wellness event a few weeks back.”

Planting Day, hosted in the fall and spring every year, is a favorite among students, said Justin Laird, assistant director at the Center for Student Wellness at CUMC, which offers evidence-based health promotion programs along with wellness appointments where students can discuss strategies for navigating academic and personal concerns.

“This is a great way for students from the different schools to mix and mingle, while making something to decorate their homes,” said Dr. Laird. The plants often mean a lot to the students. “I’ve had graduating students come by our office to show us the plants they potted at Planting Day their first year in school. It’s a great activity—really a nice form of self-care.”

Other wellness activities include yoga and Pilates classes, free meditation sessions, and pet therapy, where students get to relieve stress by playing with trained therapy animals.