Surviving Final Exams

Hell is scary, unwanted, and often described as some sort of fiery furnace. To college students, hell is this two-week-long period where everything comes crashing down, commonly referred to as finals.

All kidding aside, final exams are a sign that the semester is coming to a close, and should signal to all students that their hard work has enabled them to finish however many classes they set out to complete. Personally, I feel that finals should bring students a sense of pride in having made it to the end of what was likely a long 14 weeks.

However, that self-pride is overridden by feelings of stress, burnout, and fear of failure. Upon finishing an entire semester of learning, why are finals such a source of anxiety for students?

Before one takes a final, one has to actually finish taking a class. One’s class courseload varies based on a person’s chosen major, the level of the course, and the professor’s teaching style. For starters, some majors may rely on projects to reinforce students’ takeaways and learnings, while other disciplines require more traditional assessments, like quizzes and exams.

Further, courses range from 100-400 levels — as a student’s college career progresses, the more difficult the material. If you multiply that level of difficulty by five or six classes, you have likely chewed up most, if not all, of a 20 year-old’s brain capacity over a three month period.

Additionally, professors can severely dictate the difficulty of a class. Generally speaking, I am all for professors teaching classes their own way. By the end of syllabus week, students should have a general understanding of the workload, expectations, and time commitment for each class.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t discount how hard it all becomes to manage when the semester is winding down.

Lastly, if you factor in a part-time job and other extracurricular responsibilities, such as clubs and sports, college students are hard-pressed for time by the end of November and early to mid-December.

Finals aren’t just tough because it’s the end of the semester, but it’s because the level of work and business varies from class to class, making it hard to predict which classes need the most attention.

Between area of study, course level, professor, on top of other commitments, it’s almost impossible to feel ready for finals.

But, there’s good news. Because you registered for the class, you likely attended and submitted the assignments, took the exams, and presented the projects. Finals summarize everything you worked hard to learn all semester long. You’ve done everything you can to prepare for these next two weeks, so feel proud of having made it and do your best!