For many college students, finals week is one of the most stressful times of the year, particularly since their test results account for a significant portion of their grades and may determine whether they pass the class. Schools often recommend that students find time to deal with their stress and one university has added a fairly unique feature for stress-management.
The University of Utah, according to an article on Political Cowboy, installed a “cry closet” as a “safe place for stressed out students” in the institution’s Marriott Library on campus.
On the door of the closet is a set of instructions, explaining the purpose of the space and general etiquette regarding its use.
The sign says, “This space is meant to provide a place for students studying for finals to take a short 10 minute break.”
Rules for using the closet are relatively simple, including the instruction that students should “knock before entering” and that it is limited to “only one person in the closet at a time.”
Students are also asked to “limit your time in the closet to no more than 10 minutes” and “turn lights and timer off before leaving.”
They are even given the instruction to “use #cryclosetuofu if posting on social media.”
The space isn’t a bare-bones closet. Inside, there is a timer, and the walls are lined with fabric. Additionally, there is a pile of stuffed animals.
Nemo Miller, a senior in the fine arts program, came up with the closet idea.
“I am interested in humanity and the inherent complexities of the human condition,” said Miller. “In my work, I reflect on my experiences and explore what it means to be human.”
“One aspect of humanity that I am currently exploring is connections and missed connections through communication,” Miller added. “It’s been interesting to watch the response to this piece about human emotions, and I’m proud to see the power of art in action.”
Images of the cry closet appeared on social media, and not everyone is supportive of the idea.
One reply supplied a warning, saying, “ATTENTION STUDENTS: You won’t find these after you graduate and are in the REAL world. Prepare yourselves to be eaten alive.”
Another wrote, “WTF is this nonsense? If this is real I think the parents need to start toughening up their kid like they did in the good old days Here’s some bad news for those who condone this or uses it theres not a workplace on Earth that will provide this to its employees.”
However, some appeared to stand up for the idea, including one tweet that read: “I really love the idea of the #cryclosetuofu because college is stressful. I’m an educator & that sounds like an amazing idea for the elementary/high school level too.”
Since the closet is a student creation, it isn’t clear how long the cry closet will remain in place.