University students unwind before final exams

Gabriella Canales By Gabriella Canales

Dec. 4, 2017 at 8:27 p.m.
Updated Dec. 5, 2017 at 6 a.m.

Magical Green-Gonzales, 18, and others pet Sheridan, a 1-year-old female Chihuahua mix, at Victoria College. The Dorothy H. O'Connor Pet Adoption Center brought four dogs to the college to offer students a way to de-stress before semester finals begin.

Magical Green-Gonzales, 18, and others pet Sheridan, a 1-year-old female Chihuahua mix, at Victoria College. The Dorothy H. O'Connor Pet Adoption Center brought four dogs to the college to offer students a way to de-stress before semester finals begin.   Evan Lewis for The Victoria Advocate

Victoria College student Audrey Boswell followed the sounds of barking dogs and squeaking chew toys coming from the college's Student Center to happiness.

In one of the center's meeting rooms Thursday, she found the curly-haired Coco, a 3-year old golden and white boxer spaniel mix, whose personality jumped out at her.

"I came in stressed," Boswell, 18, said. "Now, I'm walking out with a smile."

Boswell was among participants during the college's Finals De-stress Event hosted by Student Life to give students a chance to unwind before finals.

Finals begin for the college next Monday.

After taking an algebra exam Thursday, Boswell was feeling stressed, she said. Playing with the four dogs brought by the Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center made her day.

"I feel a little more de-stressed," she said. "It made me happy."

Across the room figuring out what Xbox game they were playing were friends and first-year students Andrea Jackson and Rahmiera Ross.

"We just grabbed the controller and started playing," said Jackson, 19, as she helped Ross, 19, figure out the controls.

The two friends agreed that final exams can easily stress students.

"It's nice to know they have events where we can chill out and get away from college and the work," Jackson said.

Preparing final exam stress kits for the University of Houston-Victoria's stress relief event was Kimberley Smullen, health educator at UHV.

Play-Doh, bubbles, mood pencils and final exam tips are the items in the kits.

"They're relaxing just for anybody," Smullen said about the assortment of items.

Suicide prevention hotline cards are also included for students who might need to contact someone after the center closes, she said.

The university begins its final exams Saturday.

Smullen said she sees an increase in the number of students who seek services from the Counseling Center during the period before finals.

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed about finals is normal because of the pressure to make a passing grade, she said.

"Then they've got pressures coming from all over," she said. "You have to pass for your professors. You have to pass to get a good grade so it transfers or you're able to graduate. Parents want you to pass, and financial aid pressures are on, too."

Smullen's advice to students is to take one final at a time.

"Study in chunks; don't cram; sleep on it," she said. "Then, get ready and set for the next."


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