One of my favorite things about the Design Lab is its ability to provide people with an outlet to pursue their personal interests. While the Design Lab irrefutably provides this support on a personal level, our biweekly Community Nights have allowed me to fully appreciate the diverse interest areas of my team members, as they are able to share them with the rest of the Design Lab community.
This semester, I hosted Community Night with fellow intern Gloria Chun. Because we decided to make our Community Night a joint effort, we had to work to find where our interests overlapped and ultimately decided to center our presentation around cookie decorating. While the idea initially came from our shared love for baking, the message we wanted to bring across was entirely unrelated, and instead, focused more on the effects it would have on our community. With Finals season quickly approaching, we recognized that our peers may be entering periods of extreme stress. Though this is not ideal, we know that during these times, students often put off their mental wellbeing and self-care regimens in order to attain desired academic outcomes. While we are unable to facilitate what others decide to do outside of our Community Night, we wanted to use our time to help our peers destress and decided that the combination of baked goods and art would allow for just that. We provided attendees with sugar cookies, white frosting, and food coloring—the rest was left to their imaginations. After seeing the joy and freeflow of creativity transpire from our event, we were happy to say that our goals were accomplished.
Aside from learning that the Design Lab community is particularly fond of cool colors, as significantly more shades of blue, green, and purple frosting appeared than their warmer counterparts, hosting this Community Night taught me that when it comes to taking care of oneself, there are little to no valid excuses that can justify putting it off. Whether it be events as small-scale as our cookie decorating night or simply taking 15 minutes out of our days for a stroll, there are infinitely many ways to ensure that even in times of stress, we can and should still take care of ourselves.