Stacey Kaliabakos ‘23
The world we live in today requires us to consistently be on our game. In the age of online learning, our schedules are filled with Zoom meetings, virtual classes, and never ending deadlines. Sometimes, all we want is to be able to take a break, but, unfortunately, that’s not always a possibility. Although mental health should be considered a priority, society tends to put mindfulness and wellness on the backburner– especially for college students. That is why I am so enthusiastic about a new Holy Cross student-run initiative called The Pause Project.
The Pause Project mission statement calls for the establishment of a “community sabbath during the workweek” so that both students and faculty may have the opportunity to have a moment of rest out of their days filled with seemingly ceaseless productivity. Although our goal is to eventually institute this sabbath hour for the entire Holy Cross community, we have proposed to primarily involve first-year Montserrat students in the program over the next few years. In clearing a 45-minute block of synchronous time from the first-year schedule, we hope to introduce the students to various forms of rest. We plan to have volunteers lead different mindfulness activities and to also invite speakers to campus to guide meditations or talk about wellness and mental health in today’s world. Having spoken to Registrar Patricia Ring and Dean Loren Cass about The Pause Project and our goals for the future, we are confident that our wide range of activities and exercises will be accepted and appreciated by students and faculty alike.
Charlie Cassidy ‘23, Gabrielle (Gabi) Beulieu ‘21, Paige Cohen ‘21, Bryceida Valencia ‘23, and I comprise the student-led Leadership Team for The Pause Project. Our jobs range from facilitating meetings with Holy Cross faculty and students, researching various speakers who could come to campus to speak about mental health and wellness, and social media outreach. Most recently, we have been working on contacting other clubs and RSO’s about our project and plan to send out several surveys throughout the course of the semester in order to incorporate student feedback into our plans for the future.
When asked what he has learned thus far from this experience, Charlie, our student facilitator, said, “In my time working on The Pause Project, I have learned how widespread the call is for a proposal such as ours. Students are constantly being bombarded with seemingly more work virtually than they would have had in person. After talking with many students, I have noticed a drastic decrease in everyone’s mental health. I hope that more students, after they hear about this project, will recognize the benefits of taking time for self-care and normalize it.”
I think I can speak for all of us on the Leadership Team that we are extremely passionate about The Pause Project. Starting an initiative such as this is no simple task, but we are all excited to institute good change at Holy Cross and to help future students in our community lead more mindful and “paused” lives. As our faculty advisor, Professor Leah Cohen, so kindly put it: “I find it immensely moving that the students who are leading this effort know that our proposal, if adopted, won’t directly benefit them: it’s for future students they are working. This act of caring for people they’ll never meet is testament not only to their spirit of generosity, but to how strongly the students believe such a custom is needed at Holy Cross.”
Be sure to follow us on Instagram @hc.pauseproject or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.