While walking through the library, one is sure to see students squeezed around small tables quickly slapping down cards, carefully inspecting loose puzzle pieces, and hesitantly sliding chess pieces across the board. Over the course of the past few years, our librarians have stocked shelves with many forms of games and puzzles. The few activities listed above are the most commonly played games, but there are far more options. The library is home to Connect 4 and Weiqi for those who enjoy strategic games as well as Candy Land and Uno for those who enjoy luck-based games. Looking for something else? The library also has a plentiful supply of jigsaw puzzles for the community to work on in addition to the massive Lego projects.
One may think these games are distracting and harmful to a student’s education, but studies from child psychologists say otherwise. They say that games and puzzles are beneficial for mental health and stress reduction because they combat social isolation. Games give students the opportunity to think about something other than school and share an experience with friends. One idea similar to this that Nobles has emphasized is the concept of never worrying alone. It is much better for your mental health to surround yourself with people who care about you than to isolate yourself and work alone.
Students have come to find that games are helpful for the stress that comes with school. Austin Qu (Class II) said regarding the topic, “I’ve found that cards are a great way to unwind and relax. I feel like I get to talk to other people I usually don’t get to talk to during the school day and it’s a good break from the rigorous workload Nobles gives.” Another student from the Nobles community, Duncan Ayles (Class II) also agrees with Dr. Beurkens’s studies: “During the day I usually play Bananagrams, especially before tests or essays. I feel like it helps me warm up my brain and prepare myself for class while also being a relaxing way to destress.”
Nobles Heads Together (NHT) has made similar efforts to reduce stress by placing coloring sheets, kinetic sand, and magnet blocks around the library. Carter Braxton (Class III), one of the core members of NHT, said regarding their efforts, “We put a few games and stress relievers around the library to encourage students to relax and take time out of their day to focus on something other than the workload. Students seem to enjoy the games in the library and I feel like so far they have been effective in their purpose of relieving stress.”
These methods of relieving stress seem beneficial, but there are a few aspects that students don’t feel as positive about. Some feel like the location of games further divides the unspoken class sections in the library. For example, some sophomores say they would be far more likely to play games and work on puzzles if there were more available by the “sophomore section”. The same goes for Caroline Finnerty (Class II), who enjoys puzzles but chooses not to work on them because they aren’t located in the “junior section”. Despite this inconvenience, the interviewed students agreed that games and puzzles in the library are great ways to relax and have fun.
By Joe Bianchi