Cougar Countdown aims to help students survive finals week

cougar countdown

Cougar Countdown events begin on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Activities include tutoring, mini-massages and end with a moonlight breakfast. (Photo courtesy of Cougar Countdown)

Winter break is in site, all-nighters are pulled, and stress is at an all time high; it is the week before exams. Premonitions of RedBull dinners and coffee breakfasts dance through the minds of stressed students making them shake at the thought. However, it does not have to be like this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel; that light is the Cougar Countdown. 

The Cougar Countdown is a thread of events held by staff in Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. The idea was constructed in 2009 by staff who shared a concern for students’ health during exam season. “We wanted to help students break out of the mindset that Exam Week equals studying 24/7, with no breaks, fueled mostly by coffee and RedBull, and replace it with a better mindset,” says Associate Director of the Center for Student Learning, Lindy Coleman.

Coleman and colleagues brainstormed what they could do to assist struggling students. Coleman highlights their joint effort to provide healthy options for students. Together, the team combined resources and selected events such as yoga, Zumba, and healthy snack breaks. However, they were concerned with more than just the benefits of physical health. For students’ mental health, they host events such as Puppies on the Green.

This year, Cougar Countdown events begin on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Activities include tutoring, mini-massages and end with a moonlight breakfast.

From Dec. 9- 14, yoga and Zumba classes are offered at varying times daily. Coffee can be found on campus every day beginning Dec. 9 until the last day of finals, Dec. 16. The week’s most popular event, Puppies on the Green, will be hosted Dec. 12 from noon to 3 p.m. There are countless other tutoring and food breaks that can be found at These events are all provided by sponsors, thus they are all free to students of the College.

Coleman finds it important for students to know “Cougar Countdown is not to provide distractions or discourage students from studying, but rather to encourage students to check out the schedule and choose a few events or activities that will help them achieve a better balance of academic and personal health and well-being.”

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Mackenzie Hoisington is a sophomore at the College and is enjoying her first semester writing for CisternYard News. She could not be happier about finally pursing her interests in journalism, especially since she is in the midst of combining her love for political science, international studies and creative writing. As a "dad music" junkie, anything you read by her was probably written as she was tapping her foot to Earth Wind and Fire or Phil Collins.

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