With each semester of college, in the midst of the classic balancing act of social life and classwork, comes the dreaded midterm season. Whether it be exams or wildly complex projects, each student feels at least some amount of stress during this point in the semester.
The pressure to study for an exam for hours on end or work till the sun comes up to perfect that research paper can create fear for students. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, concern and anxiety levels for students feel higher than usual in a “normal” school year.
In the past, Fairfield University has always had fun stress-relieving activities in the library to pull students away from their laptops and breathe. I can remember essential oils, puppies, drawing activities, and endless amounts of stress balls. However, is the school still providing students with this same sort of intensive stress relief with covid restrictions around campus?
I spoke with the research and outreach librarian at the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Mathew Blaine, about how the library has changed its anxiety relief strategies for students. Blaine explained that the library is still working with the University as well as state guidelines for health and safety, which ultimately inhibits the number of activities the library is able to give to students.
As of right now, the library is offering study supply kits, which are made up of index cards, highlighters, extra pens, notebooks, and even earplugs for students to have more silence while studying. Blaine also added that coloring books and crossword puzzles will still be made available to students.
The library, as of right now, looks like they are a host of great studying tools and stress relief items that can help students relax and ease tension while cramming for midterms.
Blaine also added that there are future plans for stress relief during finals that are still ‘up in the air.’
“In our planning, we are mindful of the level of Zoom and virtual event fatigue and are exploring possible in-person events, activities and services. Possible in-person offerings could include outdoor visits from [emotional support dogs] Dakota & Bailey, free coffee and tea in the café and converting our theatre space into a meditation space,” stated Blaine.
Along with the library-friendly activities for students, the library is also working with Counseling and Psychological Services, the Writing Center and the Office of Student Engagement to allow students to have a safe space to talk or receive help with their work. The midterm and final season is not all semester, but there are still services offered every day by the library to help students feel less intimidated or stressed by their workload. There are 24/7 chat services with librarians, as well as scheduled one on one Zoom appointments. Both libraries and academic commons partners are readily available to help students with research questions and other concerns!
Blaine recommends that students reach out to the Mathematics Center and Writing Center, where students are able to have one on one time with tutors. Check out the librarian-curated study playlists on Spotify, and remember there are resources for beating the stress of midterms!