During finals week, there are projects to finish, essays to do, cumulative exams to study for, office hours to visit, and classes to attend. Students are scrambling to put their best effort into every endeavor and make it out of the semester alive and with a polished grade.
The end of a semester is stressful for many reasons, but studying for finals is usually at the top of the list.
A widely debated topic around campus this time of year is the idea of a dead week. Dead week would be a formal week off from class meetings to give students extra time to study for finals or seek extra help from tutors or teachers. The University of Mississippi opted out of the option afraid that students would abuse that time and party instead of studying productively.
Junior integrated communications major Kimberly Conklin said stress levels are at an all-time high during finals.
“I understand finals are a crucial part of our education system,” she said, “but cumulative exams are terrible. I wish more professors would, at least, weigh final exams on the same level as other exams and just cover the new material.
Conklin said her best de-stresser is walking in Lamar Park or finding a nice place on the Square to grab lunch while she studies.
As for the timing of exams, Conklin said we should have a week in between to study. Aside from seeking help from teachers in that period, she would use it to get a normal night’s sleep while studying instead of suffering from lack of sleep and cramming in one short week.
The University of Mississippi has a policy against teachers administering exams or assigning due dates for the Wednesday through Friday the week before exams. However, many either ignore that policy or have exams and projects due in the beginning of the week. This leaves little transition time to get in the mindset of a cumulative exam.
A formal dead week policy would have its benefits for teachers and administration as well. Final grades are due the Monday after finals are over, and teachers don’t have much time to tie up their loose ends.
Meek School teacher and academic advisor John Baker said he likes the idea of a little breathing space.
“The advantage for teachers would be a week without class to get things done that pile up,” he said. “It would give us a chance not to prep for class and to use the time to catch up and prepare for finals week.
“If students used it correctly, a dead week would benefit them. It’s only as beneficial as you make it.”
Baker said dead week would be especially helpful for teachers who have to grade essays and complex projects, as well as written exams all before the Monday due date.
Sophomore IMC major Kate Monsen said she feels “finals get worse and worse every semester.” Monsen and many other students look forward to the library’s annual Pet a Pup event.
For over four years, the J. D. Williams Library Ambassadors and Oxford Therapets bring therapy dogs, and occasional bunnies, to the library for students.
Library Ambassador Melissa Dennis said the library gets to help students de-stress, and pets gain necessary credits training to be certified therapy animals.
Dennis said students respond well to having pets in the library during finals week. The team offers other workshops to help students de-stress during exam time, and they offer free healthy snacks in the library. However, Dennis said therapy dogs always draw the most crowds.
Oxford’s unique community rallies around students during exam time as well. Local coffee shop and popular study spot Cups, located on Jackson Avenue, expands its normal business hours to stay open 24 hours for students during finals week. The library stays open 24 hours as well during finals week.
Coffee shops on the Square and around town accommodate students as well and offer relaxing places to focus on your studies.