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Too Far? 'Cry Closet' Designed to Help College Students Deal with Exam Stress

05-07-2018
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This time of year college students nationwide take their final exams. The pressure to perform well on these important tests can get intense. 

To help alleviate this anxiety, The University of Utah provided a safe space for stressed-out students to cry. The so-called "cry closet" was placed in the school library and made available at ten-minute intervals for students to enter and emote in privacy. It's comfy-cozy inside, complete with plush interior and even contains an assortment of stuffed animals for added emotional support.

Family therapist Dr. Linda Mintle told CBN News this cry-closet is another example of "coddling" at universities nationwide. She said this type of message is not helpful to students and can actually be harmful. 

"In the work world, if they're stressed by a project, or they have a deadline, they have to take an exam, maybe a certifying exam, they're not going to have a safe space," she said, "They're going to be expected to show up, to do the work, to make the deadlines and they're going to have to face that stress."

She said in order to fully prepare for life after college, students in the university setting should learn to face stress head-on, not learn to buckle under it.

"The biggest concern I have for this is we are seeing a generation of people who do not have stress inoculation," she said, "So the idea is you have to get a little bit of stress every once in a while as you're growing up, so you get inoculated, just like with a vaccination." 

Dr. Mintle said college students should not be taught to focus too heavily on their own feelings. 

"Everything is based on their emotions. Are they going to have the grit, the resiliency?" she said, "because we're seeing less and less that people have the coping skills to really do what they need to do."

Dr. Mintle said students should not be taught that crying is an appropriate way to react to a challenge, such as a final exam, saying it's "probably not a good idea to encourage that type of behavior on college campuses."
 

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