Finals before break not worth the extra stress

January 29, 2012 — by Sierra Smith and Ashley Tang
Photo by Salmaan Javed

With finals approaching in December, more students are having to hit the books.

With memories of winter break and first semester finals fading fast, many students have forgotten the stress that plagued them as they crammed before each day of finals. The break was not as stress-free as it was purported to be, and added an even more frantic week before it. Even though many teachers had been forced to cut down the material taught, there was still little time to study.

The unofficial “dead week” that usually precedes finals week was noticeably absent. Students were forced to study for chapter tests with little time left over to study for finals. With a semester that is two weeks shorter than previous semesters have been, it is no surprise that both teachers and students had trouble cramming in all the material. This imbalance could have been prevented if finals were given after winter break, as in years past.

Some students say that not having break before finals didn’t affect them very much because they typically hadn’t studied over the break in previous years. But what about the students who did study and appreciated the extra time to do so?

With two weeks of winter break before finals, students could spend a week relaxing and a week getting a head start on finals. This would cut down the stress that finals bring and many of those late-night coffee runs and frantic cram sessions could have been avoided.

And then there was Christmas. Because of the new schedule, many students had to postpone or cancel their annual holiday shopping for family and friends, leading to fewer presents under the tree, little time to shop, decorate or prepare and less joyful time overall with the family that forms the spirit of the holidays.

Starting break two days before Christmas makes the holidays seem that much more rushed. Students were not given much time to revel in the festivities, and rush to get everything done put a damper on the holiday spirit for both students and staff.

The new schedule came down especially hard on seniors, who had to study for finals up until two days before Christmas, and in addition spend most of break writing college essays by the common deadline of Jan. 1. With these deadlines to meet, many seniors had a hard time appreciating the two weeks of break that were supposedly stress-free.

By moving finals before break this year, the administration hoped to give students a stress-free break. Unfortunately, the period before the break became extremely stressful and hindered the holiday plans. The schedule that was intended to bring more cheer to the holiday break ended up increasing stress and lowering spirits.

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