Friday Message Dec. 11, 2020

Studying for Exams, COVID Measures Update, and Student Town Hall in January

Hello students,

Dr. Tara is away on holidays and has asked me to send out Friday messages to you while she is away.

As you know, the end of this semester is now completely virtual for both classes and exams. Everyone has worked so hard this semester to be flexible and learn in new ways. I applaud your hard work! You are almost there. You can do it! Monday is the last day of classes and exams begin December 15 and run until December 23. Your instructors will give you details on how your exams will be set up. There will be no in-person exams at the St. Mary’s campus due to the recent COVID health orders.

COVID Measures Update

Earlier this week the Government of Alberta introduced several new measures to slow the spread of COVID 19. These measures are in place until at least January 12, 2021. You can read all the details here: In short:

  1. indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited (that means no hanging out around the fire, no sociable drinks with anyone outside who you live with)
  2. restaurants and bars will only be open for takeout
  3. keep to your own household
  4. wash your hands
  5. wear your mask

We have done this before, and we can do it now. I know this will be disappointing for many, as now we know COVID restrictions will have a huge impact on our usual holiday celebrations. I guess this is the year to get creative in how we can connect safely with our loved ones. I suggest doing any holiday shopping online. I have found that many of the local shops I love have great websites and awesome service for deliveries or curbside pickup.

Student Town Hall January 6th, 5pm

You have received an email invitation to attend a virtual town-hall on January 6 at 5:00pm. Please put this on your calendar and plan to attend. With all the ongoing changes due to COVID 19, it is impossible for St. Mary’s to know yet if when we will be able to offer some classes in-person next term or if we will need to start the semester completely online. Our safety team will meet early in January to look at the COVID numbers and to talk with Alberta Health Services to determine our best way forward. Our leadership plans to have information to share at the Town Hall about what the coming semester will look like. This will be your opportunity to learn what the plans are and to ask any questions you have.

Library Services

The St. Mary’s University Library will be closed as of Friday, December 11th at 4 p.m. and will remain closed until January 8th, 2021. Electronic resources will continue to be available for students during this time. For details, visit the Library webpage:


The St. Mary’s University Bookstore will be closed to in-person shopping effective Friday, December 11th at 4 p.m. but will continue to offer online ordering and curbside pickup until Thursday, December 17th at 4 p.m. Get your textbooks now for next term – and order some cozy sweats at the same time! For details, visit the StMU Bookstore webpage:

Counselling Support

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people, especially this year with COVID restrictions, isolation from loved ones, exams, and the usual winter blahs. Remember that you can connect with the Counselling team at St. Mary’s to talk things through, get help, and feel better. To make an appointment text 403-333-4292. Counselling is free for all students, and Counsellors are available until December 23rd, and then again starting on January 4th. If you or someone you care about need immediate help during the holidays, you can call the Distress Centre at 403-266-4375, or 911.

Self-Care is Critical as you Study for Exams

It is important to continue to include self-care in your life even when it is the end of term and you don’t feel like you can find time for that stuff. Real self-care is not an occasional trip to the spa (spas are nice though), but it is building a life and routine that keeps you well. I borrowed the following list from this website:

  1. Create a “no” list, with things you know you don’t like or you no longer want to do. Examples might include: Not checking emails at night, not attending gatherings you don’t like, not answering your phone during lunch/dinner.
  2. Eat a healthy diet.
  3. Get enough sleep. Adults usually need 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  4. Exercise. In contrast to what many people think, exercise is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health. It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy. Choose a form of exercise that you like!
  5. Follow-up with medical care. It is not unusual to put off checkups or visits to the doctor.
  6. Use relaxation exercises and/or practice meditation.
  7. Spend enough time with your loved ones (virtually).
  8. Do at least one relaxing activity every day, whether it’s taking a walk or spending 30 minutes unwinding.
  9. Do at least one pleasurable activity every day; from singing along to your favourite music, to cooking, or meeting (virtually) with friends.
  10. Look for opportunities to laugh!
  11. Find your best place to study

Finally, check out this video with great study tips from a student at Simon Fraser University.

Have a great week and as Dr. Tara would say “You’ve got this!”.

How to Study for Exams
What Self-Care is, and what it isn’t – Psych Central
Enhanced public health measures

Marina Kerr
Humanities 101 Coordinator