Mental health and mid-terms

With mid-terms fast approaching, students at Algonquin College are facing stressful times ahead. While course delivery has changed for most of the programs offered at the college, the process of learning information remains the same. New balancing skills are required at this time of year, as stress can creep up and feelings of exhaustion follow […]
Photo: Liam Fox
An overhead view of the Algonquin student commons, where students can study or talk to unwind from classes.

With mid-terms fast approaching, students at Algonquin College are facing stressful times ahead.

While course delivery has changed for most of the programs offered at the college, the process of learning information remains the same. New balancing skills are required at this time of year, as stress can creep up and feelings of exhaustion follow suit.

It is even more important during COVID-19, as time away from campus can cause an uninspired feeling, according to Grace Lukaschuk, a graduate of the medical sonography program at Algonquin College.

“It was important for me to set time aside every day to hang out with my friends and roommates and take my mind off the stress. I found it very difficult not to get overwhelmed when mid-terms were approaching. You can’t spend every waking minute studying, or you will burn yourself out,” said Lukaschuk.

Studying for mid-terms is the current reality for college students, and absorbing all the facts has caused students to think outside of the box, according to Brock McNish, a graduate of the heating, refrigeration and air conditioning technician program at Algonquin College.

“Utilizing the school resources such as the library and quiet spaces was an effective way to get work and studying done while on campus. We would often get together in groups and use cue cards with test questions from our modules,” he said.

Keeping things in perspective and allowing yourself time away from textbooks and notes can be as important as studying, when taking your mental health into account. Having gone through the whole process, McNish offered up some advice to current students.

“I would remind them to take breaks, eat healthy full foods, get good sleep and enjoy time away from the books whenever they can. Prioritize work, set goals and surround yourself with people who want to achieve success as much as you do,” he said.

Staying motivated can be a tall task at times. As the work load increases throughout the term and deadlines come and go fast, getting creative through utilizing different resources is a crucial motivation method, according to Ellen Cotter, a third-year applied museum studies student.

“My program cohort has a really active group chat and staying connected to my fellow students has helped motivate me to be the best student I could be. We are a close group, so we look out for each other, and if one of us is struggling, we all try to keep them going. Having good friends to rely on helps when times get tough,” she said.

Something to keep in mind for students, is that there are services at the college for anyone who feels overwhelmed and stressed. Cotter believes they are an asset.

“I am a student with a disability, and the centre for accessible learning has been extremely helpful since I started at Algonquin. My program’s student support specialist (Tony Mendes) has been a great resource for when I’ve been struggling with issues within my program, since he knows what resources are good for different situations. Health Services are great, especially if you don’t have a family doctor,” she said.

Something to remember, is that while mid-terms do serve a purpose and they provide professors with progress reports for each student, they aren’t the final part of the term, according to Lukaschuk.

“My advice to someone struggling with mid-term anxiety would be to remember mid-term results aren’t the be all, end all. Just do your best to study, but in a few years the exact grade you get won’t matter,” she said.

While stress and anxiety are normal occurrences for students, allowing time and space to breathe provides the necessary reflection to keep everything in perspective.

For any student’s feeling as though they could use the help, professors are always all ears. However, should you wish to reach out directly to couselling services (personal, academic and career support) you can do so by telephone at 613-727-4723 ext. 7200, or via e-mail at welcomecentre@algonquincollege.com

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