The Final Straw

Alexa David-Lang, ‘21

I like to say that finals bring out the drama queen in everyone. Around this time of year, it’s hard to find a single person who isn’t complaining about something (not saying that I don’t complain, ask literally anyone I know and you will see that I probably do the most). Finals have approached us yet again, and while they will have already happened once this comes out, I want to take a moment to talk about when it actually is too much work. Since students are often complaining about the amount of work no matter what, it can be hard for a teacher to determine when it’s true. If people didn’t always protest the homework and saved it for when the work really was too much, then teachers would know when to stop and give less work. When it comes to work or school, it’s important to have a healthy balance. Too little and you’re not productive. Too much and you get burnt out. So how do we find that perfect in-between?

Despite what we’d all wish for, finals won’t just disappear into thin air. But we can make changes. Finding the balance between homework and studying for finals is hard. And it gets even harder if your teacher decides to assign a project due a few days before their final. Teachers talk about creating a study schedule to plan everything out, but we all know that that’s not happening any time soon. What we need is golden studying time. My suggestion? I propose what I call “Projects Week”.

Projects Week would be the week before finals, dedicated to turning in projects. To have to turn in projects and study for finals in such a close time proximity has us students being spread very thin. If we turn in our projects before finals, it would relieve us from some of that stress, giving us room to focus on finals. While some people may argue that we’ll have less for projects, let me ask you this: would you rather spend your last week before finals studying for finals or studying for finals and working on a project?

Since we’re on the subject of finals, I have to mention something that’s bugged me since the beginning of time: last minute test additions. Whether it’s because a class is behind or that’s just how the schedule worked out, learning something that’s going to be on your final a week before it happens is the worst. I know that scheduling is difficult for the teachers, but adding something to any test shortly before it occurs is scary. Not only are you trying to remember something that you learned in October, but now you have to remember something that you just started learning. It just doesn’t make sense.

Instead of teaching us new concepts towards the end of the semester, it would be preferred if we spent less time on something that we already understand. If teachers cut just a few lessons short by five minutes, we would have more than enough time to thoroughly learn something new. Learning something complex meticulously is better than learning something so fast that you don’t understand it.

Scheduling is difficult and having finals right after the holiday break makes it hard to spread out the time efficiently, but it is so important to prioritize so the work doesn’t pile up at the end. Teachers, take some time to sit down and talk to your students. Ask them what’s working and what’s not, and if they have any solutions for what isn’t working. It can be so beneficial to just sit and listen. In this day and age, it is so easy for people to become depressed and anxious from work and other things. The best thing that a teacher can do is make their students excited about the work and try to work with their needs. While people probably won’t be too excited about a test, don’t make them lose interest in a good class because they’re too focused on the amount of work. We’re all human here, and we all need time to ourselves. Just make sure that our “me-time” isn’t taken over by flash cards.