Exam worries? Call the chaplaincy stress-busters

Athletic activities and food drops are among ways campus chaplains are taking students' minds off impending examinations


Cambridge students have been relieving pre-exam stress by “running with the rabbi”.

“I like running and thought it would be an incentive to get students out of their exam caves,” explained chaplain Rabbi Mordechai Zeller.

“It is a good way to start the morning. At the end of a run, your head feels clearer. It helps your thoughts and your creativity.  We have to take care of our bodies as well as our minds.”

The first session was a 7km run along the river. The plan is to run 10km next time.

“Taking a break might be ill-advised from the point of view of my degree but it’s good for my health,” said Trinity College student Sam Gross, 23. “Mordechai and [his wife] Lea give lots of support — pastoral, spiritual, halachic, culinary. And now running.”

Former Cambridge JSoc vice-president Raphael Levy, 22, “wanted to go running to focus on something different. It’s a great idea. I’m doing a master’s in philosophy and have a dissertation to write. It’s essay stress rather than exam stress.”

The Zellers also host “Mindless Monday”, incorporating dinner and drawing games.

Other stress-busting activities organised through University Jewish Chaplaincy will include a cycle ride in Oxford on Sunday with Rabbi Michael Rosenfeld-Schueler. A nominal entry fee will benefit a local homeless charity.

Manchester chaplain Rabbi Ephraim Guttentag is handing out kosher sushi to Jewish students at the revision centre. Liverpool’s Rabbi Dan Lieberman is delivering kosher pizza to the local Hillel.

Newcastle University students are enjoying “soup and bagel drops”, courtesy of regional chaplain Rabbi Aaron Lipsey. There are also Friday night gatherings “to get students away for a couple of hours with no talk about universities or exams”.

Nottingham chaplaincy couple Rabbi Dan and Laura Gigi are planning a series of meditation walks and relaxation evenings.

Birmingham’s Rabbi Fishel and Esther Cohen are running “exam escape” nights with home-cooked meals.

They are also distributing sweets and energy bars with an attached note saying: “We’re here to help.”

Sophie Dunoff, chief operating officer of University Jewish Chaplaincy, said exam time assistance was particularly important. “We support students through any number of welfare issues or personal problems.”

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