As Duke student-athletes prepared for the final stretch of the 2016-17 academic calendar year, the Duke Student-Athlete Development Department offered student-athletes two opportunities to “paws” from studying, writing papers, and exams. Finals bring with it a large amount of stress and pressure as students strive to maintain their GPA and finish the semester on a high note. In addition, many student-athletes are still competing on the field and making preparations for the post-season. India Lowe, sophomore on the Women's Track & Field team, reflects on this time of the year for student-athletes as being, “like Sour Patch Kids [candy]: first it is sour because you have finals, papers, and practice; but then it is just sweet because you have finished finals and can concentrate on finishing the season strong.”
In order to help students relax during this sour time of the year, on Monday Duke hosted its semi-annual Paws for Exams event in the K Center. Lisa Wells, the owner of Paws at the Corner (a local dog store), brought three locally-trained therapy dogs over for the event. The dogs Aspen, Izzie, and Whiskey helped students relax from the anxiety of exam week. Jillian Wolgemuth, a member of the Duke Field Hockey team, stated, "being a little overwhelmed with finals, it was great to take a few moments and be occupied by something as playful and beautiful as puppies.”
As the athletic department has continued to find ways to help students-athletes manage the stress of this time of the year, we also offered a yoga session with certified yoga instructor, Kathy Smith. One of the major benefits of yoga is stress reduction and it helps individuals achieve a peacefulness of the body and mind. Senior TJ Pura, entering his final round of exams, reflected on his yoga experience: “Kathy's yoga session was both relaxing and restorative. There are few better ways to hit the pause button than getting your ‘Namaste' on during exam week.”
Duke Athletics is thankful to Lisa Wells and Kathy Smith and their efforts to support Duke student-athletes.