Pancakes, puppies to ease College of Charleston students' finals stress

College of Charleston sophomore Emmy Murney holds a puppy brought by Pet Helpers to help students relieve some of the stress of exam week. "There is something about college students and puppies that makes everyone happy again," Murney said.

Diane Knich // The Post and Courier

College of Charleston senior Lindsay Taylor (left) gets a plate of free pancakes Wednesday from President George Benson (center). Benson and Brian McGee, chief of staff (right), are two of the administrators who made and served pancakes to students on the first day of finals week.

College of Charleston sophomore Shateara Hall said she would have taken her noon final exam on an empty stomach if she hadn't seen President George Benson and other administrators making and giving away free pancakes Wednesday morning on Rivers Green.

"We don't have time to make breakfast" during finals week, Hall said.

Finals are supposed to be tough, but the college is nudging students along with myriad stress-relieving, recreational and study assistance activities during exam week, which began Wednesday. Students can choose between mini massages, yoga and Zumba classes, guided meditation sessions, peer counseling, time to play with animals from Pet Helpers and lots of free food.

Benson said colleges and universities today offer more student services than they did in the past. And the College of Charleston is offering more exam support this year than in any previous year.

Lindsay Taylor and Anna Branscomb, seniors from Atlanta, said the free pancakes behind the library were an incentive for them to get to the library to study.

If it weren't for the pancakes, "I would be at home pretending to study," Branscomb said.

Lindy Coleman, coordinator of the college's study skills program, said this is the third semester the college has offered perks during finals. The offerings have grown and the process has become more efficient each semester, she said.

The college doesn't want to distract students from their studies, she said. So it offers things that provide "little breaks here and there."

Some of the favorites are the mini-massages, late-night snack breaks, and yoga and Zumba classes, she said. Wednesday was the first time for the pancake giveaway, she said. And the response was great.

"I think this is going to be a regular thing," Layton Switzer said. The senior from Spartanburg said he had come to the library to study for two finals, one at noon and the other at 3 p.m. He really appreciated being served a quick breakfast before delving into his books and notes. "Having this outside the library is genius," he said. "Free stuff, right here."