With finals swiftly approaching, I think I can safely say that most students cannot stand finals. It’s just a given.
Beyond the registrar, I don’t think anyone on this campus understands what considerations are made when it comes to scheduling finals. I’m sure the process is very difficult, but in my three years of observing the schedule, I see the finals schedule as a mere lottery of which time code gets to go at which time.
I distinctly remember being confused as I sat down to all of my finals during my first semester of freshman year. The reason being for this was that all of my afternoon classes had morning finals and vice versa. Somehow, sitting with Prof. Benney for a 1:30 p.m. Religion final felt strange after a semester of 9 a.m. classes. That problem still persists. The final for my Advertising class this semester is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19 at 8 a.m. Did I mention that this class meets at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon?
Many students make their schedules to accommodate when they learn best, which is understandable. Many students prefer to avoid morning classes, especially those at 8 a.m., for a variety of reasons. Many professors also prefer to teach afternoon classes so they can avoid commuting in the morning. While the final may only be one day, it seems to schedule with such extreme opposition is inconvenient for all parties involved. Forcing us to take an exam at 8 a.m. already sets us behind our optimal performance, especially for students registered in an afternoon class.
The scheduling of the registrar isn’t the only problem at hand. Residence Life policies also put students’ safety at risk. Students are notorious for studying late to cram for exams. Consider the students who happen to have several finals scheduled in the last few days. They are then required to pack up and head home. If you have the last final, you normally have at least an hour and a half before you are required to be out of the dorms, and then must travel home.
I’ve heard one professor say that this policy will only be changed when a student is injured getting home because they fell asleep at the wheel, but does it really have to come to that? We can assume that after a rigourous semester, all the student wants is to go home and rest in time for the holidays or catch up on lost sleep before a long trek home. Would allowing us to stay an extra 24 hours after exams make that much of a difference if you could ensure students’ well-being and safety?
My favorite incident involving poor planning of finals occurred by sheer coincidence with no one to blame. While we picked out our Ignatian Residential College courses sophomore year, it worked out conveniently that most of them met during the same time code so we could schedule with ease. It wasn’t long before we realized that the final for this time code was scheduled at the bitter end — 1:30 p.m. on the day we had to move out. In essence, all 200 of us were scheduled to move out of one building with one elevator at the same time. That afternoon, Public Safety and the Kelley Center parking lot were as filled as they were on move-in day.
The final exam schedule will never be perfect — I understand this. But there are a few logistical details which just don’t make sense to me. Until then, you’ll find me in my apartment studying, and hopefully sleeping early. Because the last thing I want is to oversleep for my Advertising final.