By: Andrew Lovgren
With Thanksgiving behind and December officially here, it’s easy to be caught up in the department store Christmas music and dreams of a well-earned break.
But wait, the best part of the semester is still to come; finals.
That’s no typo. Finals week is the greatest week of each semester. Then why is it the most dreaded, hated and complained about span of the school year?
1. It’s all been learned already (hopefully)
Maybe this reason is only valid in a perfect world, but the finals shouldn’t signify the start of learning a subject. In theory, you should have learned everything by this point that you need on the test/paper. In fact, some profs are kind enough to give you what will be on the test (or what the paper will be) early in the semester to encourage the retention of key points throughout the class.
And you wouldn’t have put that off until now, would you?
2. Everyone is in the same, open-scheduled boat
Lets say that semester-long diligence escaped you this year. It happens to the best of us. Don’t worry about it. With four final tests on the horizon over a four-day period, that means you’ll be studying for what, 20 hours? Even less if you’ve already learned what you needed to. Taking into account the hour or two that it takes to take the test, it’ll take roughly 24 hours over the week of finals to study for and take your tests.
That means a majority of the time can be spent catching up with friends before break, taking part in some of the best days in the college experience. Everyone has different schedules throughout the semester, but during final’s week, it’s a near even playing field (quantity and quality of tests/papers aside).
After graduation, it’s very likely that days like these are the ones that will be remembered and longed for the most. The minor nuisance of a few hours of work will be but a distant, painless memory.
3. Free food (with minimum purchase of $15,000 of loans)
It doesn’t take a load of tests to get free food, but many schools offer study/coffee breaks to help motivate students and keep them awake for the last-minute cramming. If you’re doing things right, you might be using it as a break from the new Halo or an adrenaline-fueled 24 marathon.
Worst-case scenario, you’re actually in the library doing research and putting the perfect ending to your studious semester and you get to take a break to eat and see people you might not see for several months.
4. Finals means the end of a great (or OK) accomplishment
College is hard, for the most part. It’s supposed to be. It’s what makes it a triumph to be a graduate, or even to complete a semester. The most stressful final’s week accompany the most stressful classes. The short time of pain and suffering through the textbooks and reference is well worth the achievement of completing a tough course.
Not all classes end with a feeling of triumph. It’s not so much about the grade, even though students are raised to think it is. The feeling of success versus failure should be what was/wasn’t learned and what can be taken away from the experience. Perhaps it signals an end to a certain major, or the beginning of a new course.
Simple, impossible or otherwise, the end of a semester signals the end of an era and the beginning of something new, which is exciting. Making the stress worth it.
5. Not so easy? Think of it as encouragement for the next time around
A failed test isn’t the end of the world. Nor is a failed class. The unsuccessful resolution of anything is tough to stomach, and not getting what you wanted to out of a class can be devastating and make for a bittersweet transition into the holiday break.
The end is not the end. There’s more to come and take the failings of the past semester as mistakes that are not to be repeated in the semester(s) to come. A stressful finals week signals one of three things:
- The rest of the semester was filled with slacking off and procrastination, leading to last-minute attempts to learn a semester-worth of material in a matter of days.
- The class as more difficult than anticipated and the final reflected that
- Unneeded worry created a stressful end to what would have otherwise been a very pleasant, laid back week
Whatever the cause, the stresses of a completed semester is something that can be learned from and taken into the next stage, be it another semester or the real world.
This final’s season, before posting the annual angst-filled post about how many tests/papers/study groups are left until the freedom of break, consider the unthinkable and treasure final’s week. It’ll be over before you know it.