Winter Finals Are Better Than Spring Finals

Winter Finals Are Better Than Spring Finals

A positive perspective to brighten up the end of the dark tunnel known as Final Exams.
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Reading this headline, I imagine you probably had to do a double-take. How could any finals possibly be better or worse than any others? They are all unnecessarily stressful, difficult, and worth a huge percentage of your final grade, not to mention the suspense of waiting for those grades to roll in whenever your professor decides to post them.

So, how is it that the finals that we take at the end of the standard college fall semester seem so much better, in my humble opinion than the finals which end the spring semester? Well, I'm glad you asked.

First, winter finals have the beauty and joy of the holidays to keep you going when you feel like giving up. Even when you're still awake at 4:30 AM cramming for a test you have at 9 AM, you can remember that the pain will be over in a matter of days, and you'll soon be at home by your Christmas tree wondering what surprises might be underneath it. Even if you don't celebrate, you can still appreciate the fact that everyone is a little bit more festive and jolly towards the end of December. That is definitely a thought to hold onto as you stand in the mile-long line at the coffee shop, prepare for that last presentation, or put the finishing touches on the term paper you wrote the night before.

There's also the fact that spring finals should really be called summer finals, because at least here in Virginia, early May can sometimes be just as hot and oppressive as early August. While hot weather is enjoyable by the side of a pool or on the seashore, at school it seems reminiscent of the fiery pit of Hades that you feel like you've entered while you are taking finals. Taking a test that you're unprepared for is ten times worse when you're sweating uncontrollably and your shorts aren't long enough to protect your thighs from sticking to the chair. And even if the weather is nice, you can hardly enjoy it when you're chained to your desk studying or stuck in a library finishing a paper.

Winter finals can be a bit chilly sometimes, but at least the cold weather helps you focus. And you have an excuse to wrap yourself in a cozy sweater, slip on some warm socks, and make a cup of comforting hot tea as you study.

In addition to looking forward to the holidays, and to a restful break of sitting on your couch at home wrapped in blankets, winter finals have the added benefit of not ending with permanent good-byes. In the spring, the majority of college students in their fourth year will graduate, meaning that they won't be back in dorms or classes with you when fall comes around again. They may even end up on the other side of the country for their new job, and while you might get to go visit them in their exotic new digs, you probably won't get to see them as often as you did when you sat next to each other in politics lecture.

So during spring finals, there is an additional pressure to see everyone one more time, because who knows the next time you'll be able to hang out? As much as we hate to admit it, Winter Break is finite, and luckily this means that we'll see our friends again in the New Year. Even though some friends might graduate in the winter, or might bid you farewell before they leave to study abroad in the spring, be thankful that most of your winter good-byes are only temporary.

The reality is, finals suck, no matter when you're taking them. Winter finals may be slightly less awful because of all you have to look forward to, but you still have to survive them first. The good news is...you will! No matter how rough the finals outlook is right now, this too shall pass. Soon, you'll be looking back with the Ghost of Finals Past and wondering why you were ever so stressed. But until that day comes, best of luck, stay strong, and keep moving forward!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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The Ups and Downs of Being a Double Major

Its more complicated than I thought it would be.

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Before starting university, I was in love with the idea of graduating with a double major. What an opportunity, I thought, to be able to do two degrees in four years. Why would anyone not graduate with a double major?

Although I still believe in all of these things, I would say that my relationship with my double majors is over its honeymoon phase. As I write this, there is exactly one week before I have to pick the classes for the second semester of my sophomore year, and I am freaking out. Possibly due to me changing one of my intended majors at the end of my freshman year, or simply due to the heavy amount of credits and pre-requisites that need to be completed for two majors, I think that enrollment day is much more stressful for double majors.

Doing a double major in four years takes a lot of organization and thinking ahead, and these things are especially hard for a teenager starting college. Something that is necessary for planning ahead, is knowing what you want. Even though this sounds simple in theory, it is hard to imagine that a seventeen or eighteen-year-old coming into college is completely sure in which direction they want to take their career. I thought I was sure, and planned ahead and organized myself, but after my first year, I completely changed my mind. Teenagers and young adults probably change their minds so much because their personalities and interests are still changing and evolving, compared to adult minds, which although still experience some change and development, this happens at a much more slower rate.

The transition from adolescence to adulthood that happens around the age in which most people start university makes this process all the more complicated. There is a crazy difference in the amount of advising I had during high school compared to how much advice I get in college, as high school students are treated more like children that need guidance as opposed to college students being treated as independent adults. Although I think this independence is something positive, there is no denying that it comes with an abrupt change that takes some getting used to and adaptation. But with a double major, there isn't much time to adapt.

In addition to this, part of the experience of studying in a liberal arts college or university is being able to explore various areas of interest to you. I have found that with a double major, I have little space in my schedule for other classes that aren't fulfilling general requirements for the core curriculum (most of which are also requirements for my majors) or aren't major requirements. Although I get to explore two different areas in great depth as majors, I can't help but feel like I am missing out by not taking many classes in other departments.

Even though I have just written 500 words on the downsides of double majoring, I still stand with my decision to graduate with a double major. I believe each one of my majors opens up different doors for my professional future and this way I won't have to decide so early on in what area I want to work in or to stop pursuing some of my interests in great depth.

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