Life When All Your Finals are Before Finals Week

Preparing for finals is never fun, between studying a semester’s worth of information in 6 classes, having to regurgitate everything you’ve been taught in review periods -- not to mention it just so happens finals always seems to impeccably line up with sickness season. The university provides plenty of accommodations from extended library hours to stress relief sessions, all falling the week before finals. However, not every student’s finals line up with the blocked off time for exams.

The “week before finals” has been finals week for many of my peers and I for three semesters straight. Most of my classes in Political Science don’t have large tests full of specific facts and formulas to remember, so there is a sense of leeway and agency given when turning in the comprehensive final. Many times, finals take on the forms of papers, projects, and presentations that encourage a sense of creativity as long as the concepts required are covered. Although this may be scoffed at for being the “easy way out” of a final, the truth is conceptual finals are just as hard as a test. When you configure the fact that these finals most of the time take place on the last day of university classes, students lose a week of preparation.

Not having Reading Day or the extended library hours would be less of a big deal if there was greater recognition of this conundrum across university staff. The week before scheduled finals is a chaotic time around campus as the semester is wrapping up. Students living on campus are mandated to go to end-of-the-semester housing meetings. People are in the process of moving out, family may be arriving in town, and seasonal weather changes always make things tough; however, little of this is convenient for students turning in exams before the technical finals week. While the reasoning of moving many of these dates to the week before finals is to accommodate the majority of the student body, what would be the harm of moving them a week earlier? Because classes are still in session at this point, professors don’t ease off on the homework. On top of completing finals and studying, students who have early finals have to keep up on the remainder of their never-ending workload.

The aura of your living situation also dictates the success of finals week. Living on campus, RHA has a policy of 24-hour quiet hours starting the Friday before finals week. This opportunity allows students to maximize their focus to prepare for upcoming tests. Resident Advisors and building staff are extra strict about quiet hours the week of finals in comparison to any other week in the semester, and reasonably so! However, this becomes a pain for those of us who have finals a week early. Suddenly, the lack of regulation of quiet hours becomes super noticeable.

Students and staff: as the semester wraps up please be considerate of the chaos that comes with the time of year. Does this mean you need to make large accommodations to help? Nope! Approach those with finals this week with open ears and picture yourself in their shoes-- it's really not that hard. Finals week should be “finals season”. We are all stressed, sick, and so over this semester!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4