Dog Days

by Tracey B Regimbal
We’ve all heard of exam anxiety. We’re also familiar with puppy love. But have we heard of combining the two? Dalhousie recently raised a helping paw to facilitate their students during this stressful period. What did they do? A puppy room.

Girl and Dog

Word:
Puppy Room
Def:
noun
A room filled with puppies.
purpose
Help students combat their exam anxiety.

 

What could be better than Dalhousie’s Dog Days? McGill’s very own! On December 4 and 6, 2012, Redpath Library  will be opening its doors (for the second time) to a campus-wide therapy session as we play host to cuddly canines. University students and faculty can fight their anxiety by opening their arms to the puppies – a welcome distraction to grueling schedules and daunting exams.

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Learning to say no

One of the most important aspects of both my personal and my academic life is that I truly enjoy being there for others, being generous with my time and helping out whenever I can. I also love to live new experiences, to keep learning and moving, and to give back to a universe that has given me so much. And, according to the people who know me best, it seems like I have a self-inflicted disease of not being able to sit still and let myself get bored for a bit. According to my mom, my plate always has to be piled high with things to do and, unless I have over three-hundred boxes to check on a to-do list, I just wouldn’t be me.

Well, this blog post title seems to contradict this intrinsic characteristic, doesn’t it? But the truth is, this is my esophagus talking. For the last 2-3 weeks, I have had my head full of so many things (more than ever, more than the busiest, craziest, most jam-packed periods of my life) both academic and not, both insanely complex (my research projects) and truly mundane (house stuff). Balancing everything, and making sure to make time for others, has been a precarious juggling act. I thought I had been doing a pretty good job at juggling, actually, until I slowly came to terms with the fact that I might be dropping a ball here and there, and getting hit in the head with one or two of them, because I’ve just got my hands TOO full. Admittedly, I’ve been feeling a moderate amount of anxiety. Not that I am hyperventilating (yet?), but my esophagus has been unhappily cramping on its own, without being provoked by anything, which has made it extremely difficult to sit, sleep, eat, drink, yawn, sneeze and even talk. It hurts like crazy. Even when I sit still and quietly, it has taken every opportunity to inform me that it is unhappy with the stress I am inflicting upon my body.

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“I’m so tired!”

Photo source: http://gbengaadebayo.com/fighting-fatigue/

If these words have been escaping your mouth much-too-frequently these days, you’re not alone. It’s a tricky time, December — not only the end of the term, but also the end of the year. For those of us taking courses, it’s crunch-time now with final papers, projects and presentations. It’s also a popular period for conference submission deadlines (hence lots of data analyses, writing and then of course spending more time editing than writing in order to meet the impossibly low word-limit). It’s also a time for wrapping up all those things that you expected to be done with by now, things that you don’t want to roll over to the new year. Now begin the perhaps-satisfying, perhaps-stress-provoking “what have I done this year?” reflections, along with the “what are my priorities for the new year?” reflections. In sum: lots of things to do, lots of reflections, not lots of time.

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