It is definitely not competitive, but more a supportive atmosphere. Within classes, your classmates, professor, you work together through open discussion to engage everyone and to make the best of the class for all students of different intelligence and experience no matter what. Even if you are at the top of the class, you're supported like everyone else to maintain good grades, which can really reduce stress. I think the idea of finals is stressful in general, but it really depends on the class and exam which you're taking and how well you're doing in the class. SMC does offer many stress relievers, with a Stress Free Knight with free massages, reiki, and henna the Friday before finals for the students, the dorms having 24 hr. quiet hours for everyone studying, and the having the library opened until late.