Anna Bess Pavlakovich
Riddle: Where can you find a sedan sinking in a ditch after hitting a fire hydrant?
Answer: The Ole Miss Campus during finals week
It’s the age old struggle of college students – the dreaded one week per semester where they must put their knowledge, perseverance, and caffeine consumption limit to the test. Students choose to alleviate the monotony of their studies in many ways.
Amidst the madness, on Tues. May 9, a throng of university students were distracted from academia when a silver sedan flew off of Rebel Drive, striking a fire hydrant, and creating an optical illusion that looked as if the car might have encountered real life quicksand.
The wreck was the ultimate study distraction for those in the near vicinity. A number of students who had been studying in the buildings along Rebel Drive utilized the chaos as a study break.
“Not going to lie, me and all my pledge sisters stood out there for a long time watching,” sophomore student and Ole Miss Chi Omega Kathryn Abernathy said. “During finals week, I use anything as an excuse to have a study break.”
Other intrigued students chose to do the same, and went out of their way to soak up the ensuing chaos.
“I was driving up Rebel Drive right after the accident happened,” freshman student Jordan Zarzaur said. “I, of course, needed a way to procrastinate studying for finals, so I ran over and watched the car continue to sink into the ground.”
Students seemed to bond over the madness. Abernathy claimed that it seemed like her entire sorority was outside, feasting their eyes on the strange distraction from their scholastic endeavors. All seemed happy to have such a decent excuse to step away from their textbooks.
For those who may not be lucky enough for such a blatant distraction, some find relief in a change of scenery. Many students study and relax in the Graduate Hotel lobby, cafe and patio.
“Good morning to everyone, except for the teachers who make their finals cumulative,” sophomore Ashton Suehs posted on her Snapchat story as she started her morning earlier than usual at the Graduate Hotel cafe, Cabin 82. Suehs finds relief from the madness of exam week by studying somewhere other than the library.
“It’s a great place to relax and surround yourself with other students who are studying, without feeling the stress the library has,” Suehs said. “I feel more like an adult who wants to better my grades, rather than a student who is just cramming before finals when I study here.”
Others find relief in recreational activities, like walks in Lamar Park or picnics at Sardis Lake.
“My friend and I could not handle studying any more statistics,” junior Alexandra Morris said. “So we had the idea to run to Kroger, pick up some snacks, and head to Sardis. We watched the sunset, ate chicken fingers, and just took a break from everything. It was simple, but it helped alleviate my stress a whole lot.”
Some change their scenery, but even those that remain in the J.D. Williams Library sometimes seek distractions. Sophomore student Jack Olstad’s studies were interrupted when he looked up from his desk in the library and saw someone wearing a giant squirrel suit. While it may have been both extraneous and surprising, Olstad appreciated the levity.
“[The squirrel] asked us if we needed Scantrons or a snack,” Olstad said. “It was nice to see something so unexpected during finals week. When you go to the library, you know what to expect for the most part – packed tables and depressed faces. It was a nice random thing.”
The need for fuel is yet another solidified reason students use to get up from their desk and redirect their focus. Yet, sometimes these breaks may not contain the bliss one may anticipate.
Mack Hubbell, a poor soul and Ole Miss sophomore, waited in the J.D. Williams Starbucks line for 30 minutes, only to get to the front and find out there was no coffee available. Full of frustration and lacking in caffeine, Hubbell was distraught at this accidentally extended study break.
“I’d been studying for hours, grinding, one might say,” Hubbell said. “I decided to take a break and get some much needed caffeine. I went down and waited in the Starbucks line that was long as ever. Seconds, minutes passed, and when I was, like, third up, I heard the girl in front of me order coffee and the guy told her they we’re out. I couldn’t believe it. I thought he was joking, but it was true.”
Hubbell was forced to walk back to his desk and continue his studies empty-handed.
“I just wanted some coffee,” Hubbell said. “Is that too much to ask?”
It might be, considering the influx of individuals studying in the library and on campus. They, too, might have taken a break to find solace in some caffeine.
Isn’t it funny how a walk through the library becomes fun and interesting when you’re trying to study?
Anna Bess is a Sophomore at the University of Mississippi that hails from Denver, Colorado. She is passionate about her family, friends, and truth-seeking journalism.