University staff and community help students prepare for finals


Haley Renschler

The entire university is preparing for finals week and the main library on campus has extended its hours to help overwhelmed students.

The J. D Williams library is open 24 hours the week before and during the week of finals. They have provided more tables, chairs and open classrooms to create more space for students.

“I enjoy helping the students,” said Steve Whitehorn, head of access services and operation manager. “It’s important that students are provided a safe, non-distracting area to study.”

According to the website, the libraries seek to provide a safe, secure environment for reading, studying and other activities associated with learning and research.

Whitehorn has been working at the library for the past 15 years.

“The end of the semester can get hectic for the library due to all the students constantly coming and going, so the University Police Department helps us by preventing theft and maintaining order,” said Whitehorn.

Whitehorn graduated with a major in American History and previously worked in the library at the University of Memphis before coming to Ole Miss.

The library provides bowls of healthy snacks for students, such as apples, granola bars, goldfish, etc. Local business, such as Red Bull and Jimmy Johns, also help students by giving out free Red Bull drinks or free mini sandwiches.

The library becomes over-populated during finals week, so other buildings, such as Lamar Hall, Bishop Hall and Shoemaker Hall open their study rooms and classrooms for students.

Three separate floors offer a variety of environments to study with 150 public workstations available. The bottom floor has different conference room spaces that can be used for students who are working on group projects.

Computers are provided and staff member help is available. The second floor has several tables and cubicles, and it is quieter than the bottom floor. It also has a Starbucks and a reading room. In order for students to have full concentration, the third floor has cubicles and no talking is allowed.

The revenue of the Starbucks in the library increases because students consume caffeine to stay awake and focus. Many students pull all-nighters and experience stress during the week of finals, and they try to find ways to cope with stress.

“I have seen several students spend the entire night at the library,” said Whitehorn. “You see a lot of ‘the sweats’ or ‘shakes’ among students because they are trying so hard to focus.”

In 2011, a group of students called the Library Ambassadors wanted to get therapeutic dogs for students to play with during finals week. Oxford Therapets organizes “Pet a Pup” at the library, available to all students. It’s a way to give students a study break and play with dogs. Studies show that playing with animals can help relieve stress and improve concentration.

“I love going to see the animals to get a quick study break,” said sophomore Mary Clare Ganucheau. “It really does give me a sense of relief, and it’s easier to go back to studying.”

Ganucheau is a business marketing and corporate relations major at the university and is dedicated to her grades. Finals week has a deeper affect on her, specifically, because the pressure to do well is at an all time high.

The library has plans to move out old material on the shelves and add more tables for students.

“Because of the increase in students at the university, in the near future, we will create more space for students to study,” said Whitehorn.

Even students who don’t regularly go to the library go during finals week because of the limited distractions.

“It’s frustrating trying to find space because everyone comes to the library to study around the time of finals,” said Ganucheau.

Carly Volz, a junior at the university, said she tries to avoid the library at all costs because of all the people.

“In my opinion, the library is way too distracting, and I always seem to get a cold when I’m around a bunch of students who aren’t taking care of their health,” said Volz.

Students are tested on material from the entire semester, and the grade on your final has a large impact on your overall grade.

The library has 50 full-time employees, and between 25 to 30 of those are student employees. It offers many forms of assistance to help students with whatever they need, including staff and web services.

The success of students is very important to the university. Based on the creed, the University of Mississippi states that it “is a community of learning dedicated to nurturing excellence in intellectual inquiry and personal character in an open and diverse environment.”

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