Students manage a unique finals season



Kendal Neel, Business Manager

As the 2020-2021 academic year comes to a close, students are beginning to set their sights on finals season.

As COVID-19 continues to sweep the United States after nearly a year and a half, the University opted for a shortened semester that did not include an annual spring break or any extended weekends, in a dual effort to make up for the time spent out of the classroom while also preventing infections. The decision has faced increased scrutiny and criticism from both students and faculty alike as the pressure of finals draws near.

One of the main issues concerning students and faculty members about the shortened semester is the inevitable feeling of burnout that often accompanies weeks of rigorous coursework with no breaks or moments of relaxation and mental recuperation.

University junior Kiara Ronaghan said, “I consider myself an extremely conscientious student, but even I am having a hard time keeping up this semester. It feels like there are eight new things on my agenda for every one thing I complete.”

Ronaghan is just one of many students to comment on the immense stress that has come with juggling multiple classes amid an unprecedented year of political and societal turmoil.

She continued, “Honestly, it feels like the administration doesn’t care about the needs of the students at all. We’ve been through a lot this past year, and all we’re asking for is a day off to prepare for the final stretch.”

Many students have also expressed their concern for the faculty as the end of the year looms ahead. For some professors, the accelerated semester has left them scrambling to keep up with the many responsibilities that come with planning and teaching a college course.

The fast-paced environment has unfortunately forced them to choose between sacrificing course material to lessen the workload and piling on more work in order to make it through the curriculum in time for final grade submissions.

University junior Matt Cartwright said, “Professors need a break just as much as we do. If it’s getting to a point where they can’t support their students because they’re trying to catch up on weeks of course work, it’s pretty obvious there’s a problem.”

Although tensions can be high between students and professors during finals season, this year they are united under one commonality: exhaustion.

Despite the outspoken criticism regarding the shorter semester both in-person and across all social media platforms, there are some students who would rather deal with the stress of a shorter semester than an extended school year.

University junior Vinny Folmer said, “As much as I hate the extra work, I would rather get everything done and over with sooner so that way we can enjoy a long summer and forget about the stress of this past year.”

Although spring break has become one of the most quintessential and highly anticipated weeks on the college calendar, some feel that mid-semester breaks are pointless in the midst of the global pandemic.

University junior Yianni Nicolaidas said, “Usually spring break is my favorite time of the school year, but this year it just feels pointless. We really have to think about safety so I would rather push through the semester in order to keep everyone safe and hope that we can fully enjoy it next year.”

In spite of the controversy, there is one thing that all students can agree on: from thesis deadlines, extended essays, lengthy exams and everything in between, every student is beginning to feel the weight of this tumultuous semester pressing down on them. Thankfully, University students are ready to tackle the pressure head-on with their own list of stress-reducing tips and tricks.

University junior Veronica Reyes suggests, “One thing I’ve learned about myself is that my sleep schedule is more important than anything during exams. Having a set time every night that I step back from work and take a couple of minutes to myself has been so helpful when it comes to stress.”

Although it may sound strange to some, many students believe that stimulating the mind is the best way to relax while also keeping the brain on track and prepared for any mental hurdle thrown their way.

University junior Becca Ambrose says, “I have a designated playlist for studying that both relaxes me and prepares me for the extensive studying I have to do. If I’m not listening to music, then I’m reading on my breaks. It’s the best way to escape while also keeping my brain active.”

As the University prepares to close the door on the 2020-2021 school year, students are hopeful that next year they will be able to fully return to the city and continue on with their college careers after a year and a half of socially distanced and hybrid learning.

With only two weeks left in the semester, students and faculty alike are more than ready to say goodbye to the intensity of the school year and hello to the easy, sun-filled days of summer.