In a recent phone conversation with a friend who goes to Boston University, we compared our stressful assignments and dished on our heinous final exam schedules. "I end classes on Friday and then it's reading week, then exams start..." she began. Wait, WHAT? "You have a week of reviewing before finals?" "Oh yeah, most colleges do." Are you kidding me?
How is it that Colgate University, with its rigorous courses and clearly overworked student body, has no week of review time before final exams? And worse still, in the last week of classes professors still assign papers and projects and teach new lessons instead of reviewing for the final with their students.
The odds that one of your professors is an angel sent from heaven who cancels class for the last week or bothers to review an entire semester's worth of material are slim. Someone, please explain how I can be assigned a fifteen-page research paper due at the end of classes and be expected to study for all my finals the next week. It doesn't make any sense to structure the end of the semester like this. After the end of classes, students are so burnt out that studying everything over the weekend is a nightmare.
Everyone in the library on Sunday night before finals
Is this lack of review week, or "dead week" as it's called at some colleges, some sort of resilience training/character building nonsense that Colgate wants its students to suffer through? Because it's not working. What ends up happening is people freak out over the weekend and lose a lot of sleep which ultimately puts people in a bad mood and doesn't help their focus while studying. The last week of classes actually does turn into a "dead" week where people's souls crumble and die.
How people respond when you ask how they are this week
There is no one who would not benefit from an extra week to review before exams - especially students who have take-home assignments and scheduled tests. One day in the middle of the week to review is completely unfair, and this day is often not even used as a break. Many students have multiple exams in one day and choose to balance out the chaos by taking one on the review day. Some professors even schedule their take-home assignments to be due on that day which is allowed because technically no exams can be scheduled on that day - nothing said about final papers or projects.
If someone could explain why this horrible mess at the end of the semester exists, that would be great. Is it that Colgate feels the need to appear more rigorous than peer institutions? Could it be that the administration thinks there is not enough time for professors to get through their syllabi? Or are they simply unaware because no one has ever launched a formal complaint about this? Right now, our only way of coming to terms with this unfortunate situation is to take solace in the fact that everyone else on campus is suffering as well and pray that the apocalypse comes before exams do.