April in Vancouver can be amazing. The cherry blossoms are in bloom, the days are longer, and the temperature is (most days anyway!) getting warmer.
April this year also brings the convergence of three holidays of deep significance to people of different faiths throughout the world: Passover, Vaisakhi and Easter. Whatever you celebrate, I wish you joy and peace.
But April can also be stressful. From April 10 to 28, UBC undergraduate students are writing exams. That in combination with other burdens – such as finding a summer job or moving out of residence or rental housing – can lead students to feeling overwhelmed.
But take heart. If you’re one of those students feeling overwhelmed by exams (or other pressures), there are ways to alleviate the stress. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to classmates, friends or family for help. And if you notice someone seems to be struggling, reach out to them.
UBC can help too. We have resources to help students not only survive – but thrive – during the exam period.
A great place to start with is the Stress Less for Exam Success page on the Student Services website (https://students.ubc.ca/academic-success/stress-less-exam-success) which has tips on studying, managing stress, eating well and keeping active (remember: a healthy work-life balance is important, even at exam time). There’s even a soothing 45-second meditation video!
Student Services’ Health & Wellness site has a wealth of resources for dealing with stress and anxiety – whether due to exams or other causes. The pages on stress & anxiety (https://students.ubc.ca/health-wellness/self-help/stress-anxiety) and depression (https://students.ubc.ca/health-wellness/self-help/depression) are worth a visit.
The Chapman Learning Commons (http://learningcommons.ubc.ca/) offers several resources that can help, including:
- Extended 24/7 hours in Irving K Barber Learning Centre during the exam period
- Extended drop-in hours at Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication
- Exam Stretch Break video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI61fbZZYB8
- A blog post on undergrad burnout and tips for combatting it: http://learningcommons.ubc.ca/on-burning-out/
- Free stress relief activity sheets at the CLC Desk (they include study tips!)
Other resources are available at both campuses. Here’s what’s on the UBC Okanagan website:
- Math and Science Centre http://students.ok.ubc.ca/academic-supports/msc.html
- Health and Wellness http://students.ok.ubc.ca/health-wellness/welcome.html
- Aboriginal Programs and Services http://students.ok.ubc.ca/aboriginal/welcome.html
- International Programs and Services http://students.ok.ubc.ca/international/welcome.html
- Campus Recreation https://camprec.ok.ubc.ca/welcome.html
And remember to take advantage of our beautiful campuses. Take study breaks, catch your breath and go for a walk. You’ve all put in a lot of work in your classes to get to this point. Exams are an opportunity for you to show what you’ve learned along the way. You got this.
So, to all UBC students, I wish you all the best in your exams. And an amazing April.
Professor Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor