As finals week approaches an eerie atmosphere of angst starts to cover campuses. Half-awake, caffeine-powered students are buckling down for the last projects, essays, and exams that will make or break their entire semester, and the whole student body seems to be in a stress-induced state. The library is full of students rushing to finish assignments with what little sanity they have left. It is socially acceptable to fall asleep in the union or to look like you’re wearing what you slept in the night before. While students are buzzing, probably from caffeine highs, they are also daydreaming about getting to sleep for an entire week when the semester is finally over.
Most college students can attest to the chaotic, jumbled, buzzing, weeks of finishing the spring semester. As students prepare for the end, they experience what can only be deemed, the seven stages of studying for finals.
Stage One: Denial
This is stage occurs approximately three-two weeks before finals and you have convinced yourself that you don’t actually have that much to do before the end of the semester. You still watch Netflix, hang out with you friends on the weekend, and obviously you still take that much required “break day.” This stage is naïve bliss and as the end of the semester approaches you are thinking, I’ve totally got this, I have a schedule and a plan and with a little work I will sail right through to the end of the semester.
Stage Two: Guilt
After working through your denial, you have started to realize that finals are not going to go as smoothly as you thought they would. You’re starting to regret all those Starbuck runs and Netflix binges, if only you could take back the time you wasted and spend it writing that paper that is due at midnight. Time has quickly caught up to you and you're feeling guilt for every second you're not dedicating to schoolwork. However, it is important to note that often times this guilt does not stop you from watching Netflix or taking breaks, now you just do these things with heavy guilt and stress in the back of your mind.
Stage Three: Anger
You have worked through your guilt and now it has turned into a mild rage about the fact that your professor seems to think it’s okay to assign 10 page essays worth 45% of your grade at the end of semester. You actually don’t know what is running through the professor’s minds, and you know all of those questions on the last exam where trick questions. The professor is probably in her office laughing at how she just ruined all of her student’s grade point average, and you convince yourself that this was the professor’s plan all along. You probably look up your professor on ratemyprofessor.com, and look at what other students have said about this horrendous class. You just can contain your rage at the point system, you professor, the TA, the university system as a whole, and even yourself for getting into this situation in the first place.
Stage Four: Bargaining
You have realized that angry emails to your professors will get you nowhere and you have decided to start sucking up to your professors instead. You send your professors properly written emails asking for extra credit, even though it clearly states in the syllabus that “there will be no extra credit in this course.” In this stage you will ask for extra credit for doing anything and I mean anything. You are not opposed to begging at this point. You question your grade for every assignment and test you get back, you may even email the professor and ask if it’s possible the test was graded incorrectly. You just need points!
Stage Five: Depression
You have firmly been told that you in fact will not get extra credit for just showing up to class, and you have realized just how much work it is going to take to get to the end of the semester. You start to wonder why you thought college was a good idea in the first place, and you might start to think about all those successful people who got rich without college degrees. You start to rack your brain for any hidden talents or ideas you may have that would make it so you could quit school. It feels like all of your friends on Facebook are off in some warm foreign land having the time of their lives and you are stuck behind a library desk for the rest of your life.
Stage Six: The Surge
You are finally in a work mode, you are typing that paper and studying for that final exam and things are starting to look up. At this point you just want to be finished and you don’t care how you get there. So you pull late nights to finish everything that needs to be completed. One by one your classes are ending and you feel like you can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Stage Seven: "Graduation Goggle"
You have just handed in your last project and you finished that final exam and now you can only hope you get the percentage you need. But at the same time you don’t care, you're done! You have months to recover, it's time to sleep and watch Netflix. You have made it through the hell weeks that are the end of the semester. You may even catch yourself looking back at all that you had to do and thinking, “wow that wasn’t as bad as I thought.” The only thing that matters is that you are done and you couldn't be happier.