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Don’t let stress get out of control

Queen’s University provides a wide range of supports and services to help students prepare, be ready, and stay healthy throughout exam period.

It’s exam time at Queen’s and the university offers a wide range of support resources and services to help students prepare, be ready, and stay healthy.

Exam stress is a reality but learning how to manage it, and how to avoid long-term stress, is vitally important. Raising awareness of the importance of mental health and resilience on campus is a focus throughout the academic year, and especially during the exam period.

Student Support
Students looking to improve learning and studying strategies or academic stress coping skills can book a Learning Strategies advising appointment at queensu.mywconline.com.

For some students, self-care may not be enough. Anyone feeling overwhelmed should seek out support through resources such as Counselling Services at Student Wellness Services, the Office of the University Chaplain, the AMS Peer Support Centre, the SGPS Student Advisor Program, and Student Academic Success Services.

Students can also access support from the Queen’s University International Centre and Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre, and counsellors based in Residences and most Faculties and Schools.

“I have been here for a number of years and we’ve seen mental health really come to the forefront,” says Beth Blackett, Health Promotion Coordinator at Student Wellness Services. “People talk about it which is really great, but we also need to ask ‘how do we take the next step’ and work to get everyone to a point where they can achieve optimal health and wellness. We want students to thrive, not just survive, even during exams.”

Throughout the year there are workshops aimed at stress management, mindfulness and mental and physical wellness. During exams, there is a heightened level of support and services available.

For students who are feeling overwhelmed and needing one-on-one support, counselling is available through appointments at Counselling Services. Students in crisis can stop by without a booked appointment on the second floor of the LaSalle Building, at 146 Stuart St.

At the same time, Ms. Blackett adds, there is a growing emphasis on self-care and mindfulness.

Once again the Queen’s University Be Well team of peer health educators will be running a self-care exam challenge using social media, while Student Academic Success Services (SASS) has an excellent time management program for all students in the Exam Study Schedule.

The strength of the schedule is its simplicity. In a high-tech world, sometimes the best way to get organized is by writing it all down on paper, and that includes time for breaks and eating properly.

Picking up on this success, Health Promotion has created a new exam self-care plan modeled on the Exam Study Schedule.

“SASS does a really great job of helping students develop their exam study schedule so the idea is that you would build self-care into your exam schedule rather than thinking ‘I’ll get healthy when I’m done studying’,” Ms. Blackett says. “We know you are not effective when you are studying for 12-hours straight! It’s important to plan times to get up, get moving and try to bring in an element of health and wellness.”

Students can book a one-one-one appointment with professional staff to develop their own self-care plan for the exam period. 

Also new this year is a pilot project involving biofeedback brain-sensing headbands that can help users get the most out of their meditation sessions.

“This device gives you feedback when you are practicing mindfulness meditation,” she explains, adding that Peer Health Outreach Coordinator Schuyler Schmidt is available for support. “You meditate for a couple of minutes and you get some feedback about whether you’re actually focusing your attention and helps you connect back in with yourself.”

Information and booking for these appointments is available at the Student Wellness Services website.

Counselling Contacts

Students who wish to make an appointment with Counselling Services can call 613-533-6000, ext. 78264, or:

•Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science (613-533-3447)
•Faculty of Education (613-533-2334)
•School of Graduate Studies (613-533-2136)
•Smith School of Business (via Commerce Portal)
•Residence Counsellors (613-533-6000, ext. 78330 or 78034)
•School of Medicine (613-533-6000, ext. 78264).

Another resource available for students is Good 2 Talk, a 24/7/365 post-secondary student helpline which offers free, professional, and anonymous support. Students can call 1-866-925-5454 to talk about any stressful issues they might be experiencing.