Finals week stress is vital to student success

Finals week stress is vital to student success

With finals week quickly approaching, many students are feeling the pressure. All across campus, students are beginning their late night study sessions, final papers and their favorite stress-relieving activities. All this activity can lead one to wonder, “Are finals and the stresses associated with them really that vital to our education?” The answer is quite simply, “Yes.”

For most, final exams are a cumulative measure of what a student learned in a class over the course of the semester. Around this time, most students finally begin to learn the coursework that they had glossed over earlier in the semester, in addition to reinforcing the information that they already know. This provides an important learning opportunity, compounded by the pressure to do well on upcoming exams. 

Understandably, many students are stressed about this learning, but the simple reality is that if these exams weren’t given, most students simply would not learn their course content. Very few students truly go above and beyond to learn their coursework at the time it is taught. Many others instead opt to skip class. We are all guilty of skipping a class at one time or another, but this sort of chronic absenteeism greatly hurts students, especially when classes are missed for social purposes. Exams provide the necessary platform for these chronically absent students to catch up with their academic life. 

This stress also provides a learning opportunity of the non-academic variety. In life, people are oftentimes forced to work in high-stress situations. No matter the career, at some point a deadline will be faced, and employees are expected to sacrifice their own personal time and sleep in order to complete the task given to them. These deadlines are usually met with harsh punishments if they are not completed on time. Finals week provides great practice for these real-world deadlines that all students will one day be forced to deal with. 

College is not purely about learning course materials and being able to regurgitate memorized facts for a test. College is about learning and best preparing oneself for the real world. A week of intensive, forced learning provides a strong academic base for students, while teaching students to deal with stress in a healthy manner, whatever that may be for the student. 

Not only this, but finals week allows for one last week of studying before all worries of school are forgotten in the haze of summer. In all honesty, most students will likely forget a good amount of their course load within the first week of summer, but the precious bits of information retained are invaluable, and most likely would not be learned in the first place if it wasn’t for the stresses of exams. In an ideal world, none of the information would be forgotten, but in a more realistic and pragmatic sense, some information learned is better than none. 

Final exams also provide professors a benchmark upon which to grade their students. These benchmarks are arbitrary but help to provide students with a goal. While most of us have yet to meet a professor that enjoys administering exams, the void left behind by a lack of exams would have to be filled with other homework assignments that would instead stress students over the course of an entire semester and make the jobs of professors harder. 

So the time is now. It’s time for students around campus to crack open their books, sharpen their pencils and get to studying. For many, this is our first full taste of adult life and freedom, and it is important that we don’t forget that while finals are hard, they are a necessary evil that are only going to better us.

Brett Hodges is a freshman majoring in economics. His column runs biweekly. 

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