Program helps students deal with stress


(Graphic by Maia Milas)

Recognition, Insight and Openness, or RIO, is a three-part workshop that students can attend sequentially to focus on their emotional concerns through mindfulness and acceptance of their personal experiences, according to Rachel Simms, graduate counseling intern in Stevenson’s Wellness Center.

(Graphic by Maia Milas)
(Graphic by Maia Milas)

With assistance from the Wellness Center, RIO helps the typical college student who is experiencing any level of stress, difficulty concentrating or more significant struggles.

Each week students enrolled in the program move to the next step. Week one focuses on recognition, week two on insight and week three on openness.

“The goal of this workshop is to give students tools to recognize their concerns and to develop a clearer idea of what they would like to change in their life,” said Simms. Being a college student is difficult, and RIO addresses that, which is why it also aims to build coping strategies and increase resiliency in students.


Many of the students at Stevenson have benefited from building their capacity to experience and navigate the full breadth of the emotional spectrum,” said Simms. Mindfulness strategies have provided structured exposure to students’ emotional experiences. The practice has also helped students build flexibility around their current situations as well as adjust successfully to new environments and challenges.


Simms conducts these meetings for students with another counselor from the Wellness Center, so meeting times may vary depending on student availability. Students will participate in mindfulness exercises, journal writing and discussion activities to help improve their ability to cope with the stress associated with being in college. The sessions usually last anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes. Simms added that resources for outside practice are also provided since students are encouraged to keep practicing their new skills between sessions and after the workshop has concluded.

RIO is offered several times a semester, but as of now no date has been set for the start of the next sequence of sessions. Those who are interested are encouraged to contact Simms or others at the Wellness Center through campus email. It is predicted that the next workshop sequence may be scheduled for a Friday afternoon since many students are free at that time. Students should look for flyers around campus as well as monitor their student emails for exact dates of when workshops will take place.