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Finals. 

 

Nobody wants them.

Nobody looks forward to them.

It’s a week of hell on Earth.

It’s a week of added stress and subtracted sleep.

It’s a week of fear.

It’s a week of concern.

It’s a week unlike any other.

It’s a week we all want to be over even before it has begun.

But in all of that, it’s a week of beauty.

 

In the library you can hear a hundred students typing on their keyboards simultaneously.

Students are laying on the floor.

Some sleep with their heads literally in their textbooks,

Others are pouring a cup of coffee at 3am.

 

And none of it is abnormal

Because in those few moments,

In those hours that feel unending, we are all exactly the same.

We feel the same stress.

We experience the same sleep deprivation.

And while you’ve never met the girl who asks you watch her computer, 

You do, as if your life depends on it.

 

There are no jocks and nerds and outcasts.

There is no differentiation between freshman and seniors.

Class standing doesn’t matter.

Degree path doesn’t matter.

Living on or off campus doesn’t matter.

Being from in state or out of state doesn’t matter.

 

College campuses are a place where the diversity of the world comes to be one,

Any good school knows this.

And they use it.

They use it to improve the experience of every student,

To improve the worldview of those who have never seen such diversity.

To do what they can to fight social injustice in the next generation of policy-makers.

There are very few moments in life where all of that fades away.

A college campus during finals week is one of those places.

 

For that brief period of time, nothing else matters.

We are all exactly the same.

We have the same stress.

We have the same things on our minds.

We are the most connected we will ever be.

 

In East Lansing,

At midnight, every night that week

We scream.

For 60 seconds we scream at the top of our lungs.

We open the windows

We step outside

And we scream.

Until our lungs hurt and we have nothing left in us

We scream. 

And if you’ve never felt like a part of something big, it’s right there.

No matter where you are on or around campus, you can hear it.

You can hear this overwhelming release of everything thousands of students are holding in

Worries, fears, doubt, trauma

The things left unsaid, never to be discussed,

Sometimes about finals, sometimes having nothing to do with school

We get it all out.

All at the same time.

And no matter how alone you feel in the reasons behind your screaming,

We all feel alone together.

So for those 60 seconds, none of us feel alone at all. 

 

We aren’t our racial background.

We aren’t our public vs private educations.

We aren’t our sexual orientation.

We aren’t our gender identity.

We aren’t our course of study.

We aren’t our socioeconomic class.

We aren’t our political affiliation.

We aren’t our religion.

We aren’t any of the things that separate us. 

 

We are MSU Spartans!

We are GVSU Lakers!

We are CMU Chippewas!

We are DU Defenders!

We are students. 

And that’s it.

 

That is the power of finals. 

Good luck.

 

Erika is a pre-med honors student in the Lyman Briggs college at MSU. With 3 majors there isn't a lot of time for much else but she loves writing whenever she can, going on spontaneous adventures, and thinks there is nothing better than late-night (early morning) conversations with your closest friends.
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