Students stare at the stars in Abrams Planetarium to relax
The dome of MSU's Abrams Planetarium transformed into a night sky with stars and planets above a horizon of trees while serene music floated through the venue last week.
Students were able to look up at the scenery during an event called "Relax at the Planetarium" as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Bethany Laursen, graduate student representative of MSU’s Mental Health Committee through the Council of Graduate Students, helped organize the event.
“Folks just come into a mostly darkened room and sit under a show of stars swirling across ceiling,” Laursen said. “The lounge chairs allow them to relax, meditate, or doze off for about an hour and it’s amazing to see the transformation as people come out of this event so much more relaxed.”
Laursen said the planetarium holds a similar event called “Relaxing Under the Stars,” which is held at the planetarium often throughout the year and is offered once a month for staff.
“Relaxation is a key foundational part of mental health," she said. "Taking care of our mental health just by taking care of our stress is one of the first things that we can do in keeping a holistic frame of mind.”
Students took advantage of the quiet hour to take their mind off of their responsibilities.
“It definitely made me relax more, just being in the dark not having to think about homework all the time,” nursing freshman Andrea Fischette said.
Advertising freshman Anderson Day said the planetarium was a relaxing experience.
“Listening to the music, just looking at the stars — I kind of just forgot about all the stuff that I had to do and just stared off into the distance for a while,” Day said.
Fischette recommended a visit to the planetarium to fellow students who might need some down time.
“It was cool because you can never normally see all the stars in the sky, especially in East Lansing,” Fischette said.
With Mental Health Awareness Week at a close, Laursen wanted to remind people de-stressing is the first step to staying healthy.
“We’re here to open up the conversation and recognizing that something as simple and everyday and welcome as taking a nap is just taking care of our mental health, which is a normal part of being a human being,” Laursen said.