AS A CREATIVE outlet of expression, the Bedan Scholars’ Guild (BSG) engaged in ‘artistic destressing’ with resource speaker Mary Ann Villanueva at the “Art for Well-being” event which was held in celebration of the institutional Research Week of the Office of the Vice President for Academics (OVPA) and the Guidance and Counseling Office (GCO) last April 19. 

Spearheaded by the Vice President for Academics, Dr. Divina Edralin, the seminar served two purposes for the Bedan academic scholars; to learn multiple creative processes of self-expression and utilize them as an avenue for self-exploration. 

The activity was led by Ms. Mary Ann Villanueva, a registered psychologist and Guidance Counselor in Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU).  

Regardless of artistic skills, Villanueva shared with the Scholars and Peer Facilitators how various forms of arts such as scribbles and signatures, are forms of our personal artistic expression. Through simple artworks such as writing your name, Villanueva was able to elicit for the scholars an outlet for their emotions, in line with the purpose of the event. 

 Ms. Lorena Galang of the GCO mentioned that the activity was organized as an art therapy seminar for the scholars of the University. She added that the activity was actually inspired by a similar therapy seminar the OVPA usually conducts with the Integrated Basic Education Department (IBED) 

Members of the Bedan Scholars Guild (BSG) shared that the activity served as a gentle reminder for them to take care of themselves through a different approach. 

Shelumiel Emuslan, BSG President, stated that “as scholars, we often forget to take care of ourselves. Pressure, stress, and academic workloads are our main problems. It was hard to find a sense of calm.”  

“Hence, this activity was a release and a reminder that we should take it easy and take care of ourselves. And, taking care of ourselves must be guilt-free.” Emuslan added. She further stated that based upon her experience, “every art that we create are beautiful and meaningful pieces that reflect our unique perspectives and experiences.” 

“The workshop taught me that we can simply release our stress or anger by doing various expressive arts such as doodling, scribbling, calligraphy, and coloring,” Emuslan expressed as well. 

The BSG President highly commended Ms. Villanueva, emphasizing the speaker’s knowledge and expertise as regards handling the mental health of the students, and her way of explaining them through art. 

However, the event posed short of reaching their expected participants of at least 60 attendees consisting of every academic scholar from the different departments of the institution. 

“Supposedly, the activity was to be conducted at the end of April. But we had to reschedule it a week earlier,” said Ms. Galang as she pointed to the conflict of schedule as the cause for the low number of attendees. 

Nonetheless, the OVPA and the Guidance Office considered the activity a success, as its aim of prioritizing the mental health of the scholars was well received. 

“The event was greatly received by participants and has truly allowed the participants to learn and obtain new experiences as well as new insights on some best means of expressing themselves even through tough and challenging times,” she concluded. 

Moving forward, Bedan scholars can expect greater activities relating to their mental health and well-being, although not through art but in another creative manner.


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