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A Final Finale: Reflecting on the End

Entering college, I heard the horrors about the end of each semester. The sleepless nights, the pile of empty cans of energy drinks and group projects that somehow counted for a quarter of my final grade. In an odd way, I find finals quite calming. Don’t get me wrong, my stress level during the last week and a half of the semester is horrible and I break out every single time, along with eating my feelings because all that matters is a good grade and I’m willing to sacrifice my looks for a week. However, at the same time I find it fulfilling that the whole semester leads up to a final thing that showcases what I was supposed to learn. 

Now that I’m a senior entering my final semester in the spring, it feels appropriate to reflect on the many finals I have taken in the past. 

My favorite final I’ve ever had was a group project with a group that worked as hard as I did. We each scheduled a time where no matter what, we would work on the project together. We were able to finish the group essay a week early and then polished our presentation to perfection. I was so lucky to have such a good group because that was the least stressful group project I’ve ever worked on, especially since it was a final for the class. I was team lead and I was able to contribute while making sure everyone did their parts. It was the smoothest and easiest final project I’ve ever done so far, despite the complexity of the assignment.

My least favorite final was a 20 page essay that I “somehow” put off working on for three weeks. I found a spot in the middle of the sitting area in my dorms and sat there for six hours busting out the paper, then I slept for an hour before heading  home for winter break. I drank three energy drinks while working on that paper, which I know for sure was horrible for me, but if my heart is beating fast, I’m working fast. I don’t remember sleeping for an hour, but apparently I did so I can’t say I pulled an all nighter. But, it was the worst final I’ve ever taken and the fact that I got a B- on it was an actual miracle. I have since learned my lesson, but it took a six-hour,  20 page paper to knock the procrastination habit out of me. So, please learn from me when I say, never procrastinate a giant paper because you will HATE yourself the entire time till you get your grade back.

Something I do miss about in-person final season though is the study groups that barely studied and the free coffee in the library along with the stress reducing dogs brought in. I miss getting a group of friends from class together to study in the packed library and having to fight for a table. Then we wouldn’t do much studying, but rather complain to  each other about how much stuff we had to do and then go pet the dogs together before calling it a day. If we did study, it was relaxed and fun, which helped to reduce my stress. We would bounce topics off of each other and have mini lessons to teach each other to make sure we each understood the content being covered in the exam. Sometimes after studying, we would grab food and just hang out afterwards. It made finals season much more relaxed and less overwhelming.

I also miss the hour before the exam cram where students would show up early to the classroom and sit in the area around the room cramming information as much as possible while also pumping each other up trying to soothe each other’s nerves. A quick pep talk before the professor welcomed us in and then a quick comradery with those who left the final at the same time with you. Complaining about certain confusing questions afterwards and then confirming a question you thought you got wrong are things I miss too. Finals, despite being the worst, are also the best. The stress might suck, but knowing you’re done and you knew you did your best outweighs the bad. So as we enter finals season, good luck and you’ve got this!

Becca is a graduating senior Communication Studies major with a focus in Public Relations from the University of San Francisco. She is currently located in Las Vegas, Nevada due to the pandemic and enjoys consuming too many true crime shows and obsessing over her dog. She aspires to be a public relations professional specializing in political campaigns as a speech writer or campaign manager in the future. For now, she is enjoying finishing school and figuring out what all she wants to do in life besides work.
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