So You’re Stressed About Finals

My first final this semester was... an interesting one. Similar to many other courses, this final was taken online in a multiple choice format. For some reason, the testing website was only able to display the questions one at a time; after you are done answering each one, the page has to reload in order to move on. Usually, the loading time is unnoticeable, but during that final it felt like it took about a minute or three to start each page. Imagine sitting through dozens of load screens as you try to trudge through a 50-plus multiple choice exam.

Due to COVID-19, almost all academic material and tests are conducted online. Because of the strenuous conditions not only with avoiding the virus, but also location changes, internet connectivity issues, and undesirable study conditions, many universities (including UVA) have implemented credit/no credit as the default grading method. Although at first glance studying has become a lot easier, in reality many students are still opting to receive a letter grade. Students who are applying to medical school or graduate school feel pressured to stick with the graded option for fear of diminishing their application strength.

The current situation is not ideal for anyone; just know that you are far from being alone. Even though morale seems to be low, keep going at it! I promise, things will get better. Sometimes the positives in life surprise you along the way. If you are feeling absolutely overwhelmed, taking an hour or two away from studying will benefit you in the long run. Try some light yoga during breaks, or listen to some relaxing music. Do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and relaxed.

As always, remember to think about the long run. A couple of tests don’t decide your future; there are always multiple paths to the end. You are already a rock star for making it this far.