Dealing with stress

Once again, exam time has fallen on Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus. For the next three weeks the library will be filled all day as students cram for finals.

No matter what their schedule is, it seems almost impossible for students to avoid stress during this time of year.

Whether it is over-studying, under-sleeping or impromptu trips to Phil’s, some students do not handle stress well.

Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union has a number of initiatives to combat student stress during exams, most notably the trial of a new pet therapy program.

Prompted by the success of similar programs at Harvard and Yale, WLUSU is hoping to bring some canines onto campus during exams  to help lower  stress levels.

“When students are under a lot of stress,” explained director of policy, research and advocacy, at WLUSU Chris Hyde. “Coming into contact with a dog can promote the familiar feeling of calm and relaxation.”

There are still some logistics to work out with the program, but the hope is to have a trial date at the WLUSU offices on Dec. 6.

“I think it’s a spectacular idea,” said Zahid Jafry, a part-time student. “It’s like they actually take stress during exams as a very serious issue … I personally wouldn’t be into [the program], but I think it’s irrelevant. I’m so impressed they’re doing that.”

“I love dogs,” added Emma, a second-year business student who declined to give her last name. “That would be exciting because I don’t have my pet dog here.”

There is still much work to be done, but if the program is a success WLUSU plans to make it more available during winter exams.

“We would like  a few shifts for a couple of days,” said Hyde.

“So we could maximize the time that students can interact with the animals. Not every student has the same schedule so we would like to provide them with more opportunities.”

For students who would not be able to make the trial date this exam period, there are a number of other programs to help during the exam time.

Peer Help Line will be offering Student Connect, taking place in the 2/4 Lounge, which is a place where students can go play games, relax and reach out if they are having trouble combating stress.

“It’s giving the students the opportunity just to step away from schoolwork for a few hours and just refocus and I think that’s one of the biggest things,” said Josh Proksch, vice-president, campus experience.

“Making sure those resources are available to students is key and as the Student’s Union it’s our responsibility to try and make sure those resources are there for the students.”

With Laurier putting such an importance on mental health this past semester, it is important students are able to cope with the stress, whether it is taking part in campus initiatives or using simpler means.

“Honestly, I find the best thing is just drinking lots of water and keeping your sleep routine normal,” said Jafry.

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