From drop-in counselling to therapy dogs: U of T rolls out supports ahead of exam season

Bella the therapy dog is petted by students
Bella, the St. John Ambulance therapy dog, will once again be making a visit to Gerstein Library along with furry colleague Beau (photo by Geoffrey Vendeville)

With exam season about to get underway, the University of Toronto is ramping up support services across its three campuses to give students the help they need during this busy period.

Students on the St. George campus will once again have access to drop-in counselling at the Robarts Library seven days a week through Dec. 20. The service is available in four languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi and Mandarin.

The initiative was first introduced during the spring exam period this year. 

Read nine tips to manage nerves and do your best

At U of T Mississauga and U of T Scarborough, meanwhile, counselling will be available through the Health & Counselling Centre and Health & Wellness Centre, respectively.

U of T Mississauga is also making same-day advising appointments available for students who are experiencing distress or require end-of-term assistance for disability-related issues. In addition, there will be an adviser available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and by phone after 5 p.m.) to support students in the test centre.

There are also numerous other activities to help students prepare, de-stress and do their best. Here's a partial list of wellness supports available to U of T students during exams:

St. George campus

Drop-In Counselling Counsellors from My SSP will be available daily during the fall exam period. Counselling is free and open to all students. Services are offered in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Mandarin

  • When: Dec. 9-20 (see website for times)
  • Where: Robarts Library, Rooms 1153 and 1155

Therapy Dogs – Bella and Beau, the St. John Ambulance therapy dogs, are back to help you relax on your study break!

  • When: Tuesdays and Thursdays until Dec. 17 (see website for times)
  • Where: Gerstein Science Information Centre

Brain Break – Get moving with a 10-minute physical activity, enter in draws to win prizes and grab some snacks before heading back to your studies refreshed

  • When: Dec. 5, 6 and 7 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Where: Robarts Library, south lobby, second floor (see website for details)

Mindful Moments sessions Practice secular mindful meditation techniques that increase relaxation and focus

  • When: Various times until mid-December (see website for details)
  • Where: Various locations (see website for details)

Exam Jam (U of T Engineering) – Instructor-led review sessions and wellness activities include a free healthy lunch, massages, board games, crafts and more

  • When: Thursday, Dec. 5 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Where: Wellness features available in The Pit. Check website for room information for review sessions

Exam Jam (Faculty of Arts & Science) Instructor-led review sessions and wellness activities include massages, therapy dogs, free snacks, photo booth and more

  • When: Friday, Dec. 6 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Where: Wellness activities and features in lobby of Sidney Smith Hall. Check website for room information for review sessions

U of T Mississauga

Students participate in an exam jam at U of T Mississauga in 2017 (photo courtesy of U of T Mississauga)

Wellness Routes Take part in a de-stressing walk while sharing your tips and learning about stress management during the exam period. Led by Nikki Robichaud of the Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre (RAWC)

  • When: Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Meet at RAWC entrance (see website for details)

Exam Jam – Therapy dogs, board games, crafts, instructor-led course review sessions and more

  • When: Friday, Dec. 5 at various times (Check website for details)
  • Where: Various locations

U of T Scarborough

Peer-To-Peer Drop-Ins – Speak to peers, learn coping strategies and learn about available resources on campus

  • When: Dec. 6 at 12 p.m.
  • Where: UTSC Health & Wellness Centre (check website for details)

Feeling distressed? Find someone to talk to right now – and if there is an immediate risk, call 911.

Round-the-clock support:

Students can speak to a trained crisis worker at any hour of the day.

  • My SSP for U of T Students 1-844-451-9700. Immediate counselling support is available in 35 languages and ongoing support in 146 languages.  

Other 24-7 supports available to students include:

The following services are available to students on all three campuses:

Faculty and staff have access to 24-7 support through: