Study Weary Students Can Now Catch Some Shut Eye In The New ‘ZieSta Room’ At Wake Forest University


It’s no secret that long nights of studying, researching and writing papers can be exhausting, but the new “ZieSta Room” at Wake Forest University is allowing students to rest a bit…even if that includes some much needed shut eye.

The new room in the Wake Forest University’s Z. Smith Reynolds Library is dedicated to providing weary students a place to unwind and take a break from the rigors of college life. The “ZieSta Room” is intended to be free of technology and textbooks to aid students in decompessing in whatever way they can, which includes napping if that is part of their relaxation process.

The room is situated in an a designated area in a larger section of the library and is open 24 hours a day to accomodate students at all times. The relaxing room may not be in a separate space, but that didn’t stop the room’s designers from making it seem like a cozy spot to hunker down for some much needed rest and relaxation. Even the library’s associate dean, Susan Smith notes the room’s lack of lighting and credits the lighting as being intentional since napping is not only expected, but encouraged.

Smith goes on to say, “Our building isn’t that close to the dorms, and we were hearing from students that whenever they would leave to go rest, they usually didn’t make it back to the library. So this was a way to help them relax and then be able to easily get back to studying. Students sometimes call the university ‘Work Forest’ instead of ‘Wake Forest’. It can be intense here.”

The university has pulled out all the stops to help their students reduce stress, manage anxiety and depression as well as foster an overall sense of well-being over the last few years.

These changes come at a great time considering the recent studies from the American College Health Association and their reports of students experiencing “overwhelming anxiety”, depression and even thoughts of suicide. Upon the realization that students were struggling, Wake Forest elected new director of well-being, Malika Roman Isler, to kick start positive changes for the school and its students.

Isler says of the struggle some student endure, “Students are more stressed and anxious than ever before. They’re paying more than anyone has had to and they know they’re graduating into a world with very few guarantees. Their self-worth tends to be tied to accomplishments both in and out of college. And we have high expectations here, so we have to make sure that doesn’t tip into distress.”

The “ZieSta Room” wasn’t Wake Forest’s first foray into taking care of the physical and emotional needs of students as just last year the “Thrive” program was launched. The initiative’s websites says that the elements of the “eight dimensional balancing act” are: emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and social wellness.

Just prior to implementing “Thrive”, the university made improvements to the outdoor common areas that were frequented by students with the  addition of some extra seating, recreational activities and even added some outdoor classrooms into the mix.

Between naps in the library and the opportunity to spend some time outside soaking up some serotonin inducing Vitamin D, students at Wake Forest University are set up nicely on a path for success and less stress.

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