Loving What No Student Wants to Admit
December 30, 2014
Blogger: Griffin Taylor
As I write this, I wade waist-deep into the least favorite part of the semester: finals week. It is like any other week: there’s a Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and even a Saturday. Except there’s a catch- the monolithic examination of your knowledge on the entirety of a class. The fruits of your labor are either exalted to the stellar mark you always swore you would bring home to your parents, or is doomed to haunt you in regret. I would say this is a fairly agreed-upon conception of finals week between college students.
As one might wonder, finals week is not a fan favorite among students, as first-years and seniors alike cram for an unknown test, compile readings upon readings into a final paper, scribble notes late into the night preparing for a presentation, or make sure every line is perfect for a performance. It’s a time where everyone is stressed, and those who aren’t stressed are subject to vicious envy from the rest of the student body. It is easily, for many students, their least favorite week of the semester. Worse yet, it serves as a bitter end to the semester, where students who have finished their finals recede from campus like the loser of a bad skirmish from the battlefield, wounded but happy to have survived to tell the tale. When you’re in the middle of it, it seems like there really is no silver lining to the hellish experience. And while I normally might not admit to you that there is a hidden high ground, tonight I find myself in a rare optimistic mood.
Maybe this is the sentimental senior in me, but part of me romanticizes the idea of pulling all-nighters in pursuit of some lofty academic goal. Finals week is a time of commiseration, granted, but it is also a chance where college students get the opportunity to be as smart as they really are together, all at the same time. The pressure is on during finals week, but some of the most interesting, well-written papers can come out when students know the stakes are at their highest.
While no one will tell you that they like finals, seniors during finals week are partaking in one of the last times that they will get to be truly immersed in their academic experience. Entire books can be read over a three day period, and concepts learned minutes before an exam. In many ways, finals can show students just what they’re capable of. At the end of finals, a student can look back on the amount of work they were able to churn out during the week and realize their own capacity.
The very content of this blog post might make college students in the middle of finals cringe, but I think from the vantage point of a senior, it’s important to find something in every single day that you appreciate about your experience here at Oxy. Finals are not fun. But they are an opportunity of reflection, where you get to look back on the rest of your semester and see what you’ve learned, see how far you’ve come, and look forward to next semester and beyond. On behalf of the entire class of 2015, we might as well embrace the pain while we can.