‘Tis The Season!
Confession: I love Finals Week.
I feel like I need to explain myself. This doesn’t make sense to most people. Here are my Keys To Having Fun Finals and Not Getting Too Stressed.
1. Realize that you are going home very soon.
For me, Finals Week is definitely not the time to hole up in a small study nook and attack books for hours at a time. It is instead time to find a table in the Academic Commons with a few friends and spend pretty much a whole day in there together. While it’s important to get all of your work done during Finals Week, it’s also the last bit of time that you get to spend with some of your closest friends before you go away on break (or a semester abroad).
One of the things that I love the most about this time is that the whole student body is in one place. Basically everyone you’re friends with is in the library, and it’s really fun to take breaks and walk around the AC and ask people how they’re doing and hearing a little bit about their projects. Sometimes it can get really fun to hear about other people’s stuff, especially if they’re doing step 2 correctly.
2. Care about the stuff you’re working on.
In all of the upper-level classes I’ve taken at Clark, I’ve been given pretty serious liberty with my final assignments. My final paper for Contemporary Literary Theory is to write 25 pages using literary theory. That’s pretty broad. I’ve taken the opportunity to write about the three novels by David Foster Wallace. He’s my favorite writer, and so spelunking through 2,000 pages of prose is actually really interesting and exciting for me, and definitely not a chore. Finals Week is the summation of a semester of work on classes that you picked yourself, so let yourself get into it.
3. Get organized.
When you have an insurmountable mountain of work in front of you, you can get really behind. Getting behind is unfun. It’s scary. When you get organized and you have systems that work for you, go with them. I read two of the books for that literary theory paper before I even knew I would write this paper someday. I combed each of these books and stuck post-its on pages that mattered to my paper so that I would have everything I needed easily accessible. It’s key to develop systems that work for you.
4. Take generous breaks.
Find things to do that aren’t finals-related. I try to eat all of my meals with friends during finals. I try to go to stuff. Last night, I went to a men’s basketball game with a couple of my buddies. Clark beat Worcester State 63-58! We’re 7-2 now.
Finals week is also when Clark puts on my favorite event of the year: Midnight Breakfast. Midnight Breakfast is SO COOL. It consists of the following two things:
Seems like a pretty straightforward event, but here’s the gist. Basically EVERYONE throws up their hands for an hour and says “Nope, not gonna do homework.” Then we crowd in the Caf and have eggs and waffles and TATER TOTS served by Clark’s administrators. It’s honestly really loud and crowded and absurd. It’s hilarious because all of us have so much to do and so many pages of papers to write, and we all just decide for a little while, “You know what? No. Waffles instead.”
So finals aren’t that bad. I hated them my first year. But then I learned to surround myself with people that I love and work that I care about, and I’ve had some of my best Clark memories during the days when I should be feeling the worst.