As finals approach, and the semester inevitably gets more and more stressful, it can be really hard to remember to take care of ourselves. It can be even harder to find spaces on campus that aren’t filled with stressed-out students, where we feel we can take a bit of a breather.
If you’re anything like me, and are looking for these safe havens on campus, here are a few of my favourites.
The reading room in the Killam is part of the archives It’s surprisingly cozy like a grandfather’s study – with windows! The only downside is you can’t bring food or drinks into this room.
The Dalhousie Arts Centre is a great spot to study or unwind if you’re tired of the library and looking for a break.
The fourth floor has study carrels right by a window (keep in mind that street-level is the third floor of the Arts Centre.) The fifth floor has couches, and several private study carrels. My favourite spot to study on campus is in the Arts Centre, listening to the pianists as they practice for their own exams.
The atrium of LeMarchant Place is bright, well-lit, and right in the heart of campus.
It can be busy during the day, but the bright, open space can be really calming. Plus, this is where the therapy dogs will often show up if there’s a puppy room on campus. It’s also right next to the Health and Wellness Centre, and the International Centre if you need any professional support.
Formerly called Counselling Services, the counselling branch of the Health and Wellness Centre is great. (I’ve personally benefitted from their support and guidance so much over the past four years.) The centre now has daily drop-in counselling sessions, but I know that people are sometimes looking for other supports.
If you need some mental health support and counselling isn’t for you, Dalhousie’s social worker has drop-in hours on Wednesdays in the Wellness room of the SUB, and Thursdays on Sexton campus.
The Multifaith Centre is also available; one of their chaplains I’ve met is very enthusiastic, approachable, and supportive of mental health and wellness. This centre could be a great option for students looking for support with their faith, or mental health support from someone who can tend to their spiritual needs.
There are also peer support workers on Dalhousie and King’s campuses who are students trained in mental health support, if you want more of a casual venting session. These students are peer support in that they also have experience navigating mental health challenges, and may be able to offer that “me too” that can be so helpful when you’re struggling. Sometimes, that little bit of validation goes a long way.
No matter what the rest of the semester has in store for you, make sure to prioritize your mental and physical health. You are more important than any grade, and you can only do your best work when you are healthy and taken care of.