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A stressful time for all at Loyalist College

Photo by Trish Bauder

Photo by Trish Bauder, QNet News.

By Trish Bauder [1]

BELLEVILLE – During exam season students aren’t the only ones getting stressed out for finals at Loyalist College [2]. Faculty can also be stressed and overwhelmed.

Neil Kerby, co-ordinator of the community and justice services program, says that when it comes to exams what is most stressful for him is trying to find ways to evaluate the students learning.

“To come up with a method or a type that’s going to really cover what we covered in the course, especially in ours where there’s a lot of practical learning and a lot of practical evaluation. It’s hard to say okay what sort of questions on a paper type exam would be adequate for that type of learning.”

Having a ton of marking and a deadline for marks five days after the course ends can be stressful for faculty as well, he said, especially when they have 60 students and more than one class a semester.

Kerby says sometimes when the students come to him stressed out about exams it can give him stress and anxiety too.

He often questions himself ” Did I do enough to prepare them, did I use enough material.”

Coping with stress is also about giving yourself some time, he said.

“Really scheduling your time. Taking breaks, like that’s for the marking part. Whether its physical activities, or just going outside to get some fresh air. Sometimes you could be sitting for eight hours straight in the chair. So finding some things to clear you mind, making sure you’re still you and letting people around you know that this is going to be a really busy time so they give you a little more space.”

Scott Whalen, a professor of the photojournalism program, gives one open book exam to his students. But, he says, it’s still a stressful time for him.

“I find it challenging to set the exams and give them because I like them be challenging not frustrating. So it’s a challenge to summarize a semester’s material, test it, but do it in a way it doesn’t frustrate students. So to that end, I give an open book multiple choice exam.”

Whalen says he paces back in forth at the back of the room or he focuses on marking the student assignments when he’s stressed around this time of year.

As for student stress, Whalen says he gives them a book to write in about anything they want before they write the exams. It’s the first year he’s done it, but he’s hoping it will help his students deal with any stress they are feeling at this time of year.

Exams are also stressful for students who peer tutor others and help them prepare.

Gabby Foley is a peer tutor here at Loyalist and says she gets stressed out with not only helping others prepare for their exams, but preparing for her own.

“The pressure of it. My own expectation of myself. Maybe the amount of time (it takes), the crunch of it “

Foley says that exercising and being with positive and happy people is what helps her make it through this stressful time.