Parkin: 12 Days of College Finals


Graphic by Ashlyn Cary

By Natalie Parkin

 After Thanksgiving, the stress of college finals tends to turn students into a mob of grumpy Christmas carolers. We get stuck twiddling our thumbs and pencils waiting for the relief that comes from winter break. The joy of Christmas is sadly delayed by the awful curse of being a college student. Now that finals season is upon us, I felt that it is only appropriate to celebrate the holiday season by singing the most well-known Christmas song, “Twelve Days of Christmas,” with a college twist. ‘Tis the season of hair pulling. Falalalala-lala-la-la.

On the first day of Christmas, my classes gave to me…

A Whole Lot of Anxiety

Did you know that 41.6 percent of college students experience anxiety? Also, 36.4 percent struggle with depression. With professors adding even more stress by giving students finals right before Christmas, it’s no wonder desks are over piled with caffeinated drinks. Sugar-infused energy drinks and caffeine seem to be the only things that get us through the anxiety.

2 Thoughts of dropout

Let’s be honest. We all consider it. Finals are a beast, but the University of Utah has fierce students. In fact, 89 percent of new students stay on for a second year at the U. This makes the U one of the best in the country when it comes to freshmen retention rates. It makes us proud to be Utes.

3 Crying Classmates

One of the reasons college is so great is because it’s the only place where people can randomly start crying and everyone understands. When those feelings of hopelessness, worry, stress and sleep deprivation all hit you at once, the resulting pain is a feeling that all college students share at some point or another, especially during finals.

4 Projects Due

Typically all on the same day. How do professors manage to do that? Even if they teach completely different subjects from opposite ends of campus, they seem to pick the same day to make every single final assignment due. It’s completely brutal for students.

5 All-Nighters

Finals week means absolutely no sleep for college students. We all procrastinate and use the last possible week to catch up on assignments. Did you know that, on average, most college students get six to seven hours of sleep per night? Young adults typically need eight to nine hours a night to be considered well rested. The college years are said to be notoriously sleep-deprived due to the overload of work and activities. And with everything we do, during finals week or not, I don’t doubt that we’re all essentially walking zombies.

6 Mental Breakdowns

Either late at night by yourself or publicly in the library, we all have our moments of doubt when we lose our cool. All those textbooks and final papers seem too overwhelming to handle. While studying, three things can be a huge help to you if they are on your desk: tissues, mints and a caffeinated beverage, like Diet Coke or coffee. Tissues for crying, mints to wake up your mind and caffeine to keep you sane. Trust me, they do wonders.

7 Study Sessions

Usually, these study sessions turn more into friend hang-outs rather than doing much for homework help, which is both good and bad. They’re bad because you hardly study when you’re with your group, but good because they give your mind a moment to cool down before it explodes from all the mental abuse from finals. However, for the sake of your GPA, make sure you are actually studying (sometimes) and not only chilling with your friends. Grades before gossip.

8 Cruel Exams

Eight exams within one week — could college get any more stressful? All of these exams are around two hours long and usually contain questions that were not on the study guide. You can almost hear the professor laughing behind their desk taking joy in all the failing grades they are about to give to their students.

9 Nights of Cramming

Joseph R. Ferrari, an associate professor of psychology at DePaul University, understands college students’ struggles with organization. He said that, “Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up.” Cramming to turn in late assignments is common for those of us with the wonderful habit of procrastination, which is pretty much every college student ever.

10 Complaining Emails

Just picture Michael Scott from “The Office” screaming, “I’m going to kill myself! I’m going to kill myself and it’s your fault!” That pretty much sums up what a typical email to our professors sounds like during finals. The worst part of sending these emails is that we all know the professors cannot help us at this point. The best they can do is wish us luck and guilt us into thinking we should have come in for help sooner.

11 Boring Lectures

Lectures during finals week are helpful, don’t get me wrong, but they seem incredibly long and boring. Let’s be frank. This time of the semester, most students’ minds are on figgy pudding and fuzzy Christmas socks by a crackling fire — not on anatomy. It’s a real struggle not to sleep during the last few classes of the semester and dream of fluffy white snowflakes.

12 Cups of Coffee

Coffee is a college student’s constant companion during the last stretch of the semester. During finals it keeps us in tune with the Christmas spirit. Whether it’s a fancy red Starbucks cups or the Christmas spices one adds, coffee keeps us as jolly as one can possibly be during our week of pain. Just one sip of coffee and you’ll be able to muster the strength to fake a smile and act like you’re not dying in front of your family and friends.

Merry Christmas, students. May Santa bring you passing grades this season and much needed sleep.