For the average college student, finals week is the textbook definition of stress. Students have to face many challenges during the end of each semester, including tests that could make or break your grade and misshapen eating and sleeping schedules. Our finals schedule, however, may hurt students more than it is helps them. UT should shorten its current finals period/week to cut down on unnecessary anxiety and scheduling inconvenience.
Our finals “week” is unnecessarily long. In spring 2018, undergraduates classes ended May 4, a Friday. Five days later on Wednesday, May 9, final exams began. They lasted until May 15, that next Tuesday. This is not a “week” — this is a dragged-out span of 10 days after our last day of class that, if organized correctly, could have allowed students to finish finals earlier, leave earlier and spend more time on break.
Computer science sophomore Emily Rude was held hostage by spring 2018 finals, having to stay until the last day of finals to complete her 3 tests. “I felt like my ability to productively study decreased as the two weeks dragged on. I became mentally drained as time passed and the tests were still hanging over my head,” Rude said in an email. “Overall, the ‘extra time to prepare’ for each exam negatively affected my mental health, productivity and my travel plans.”
If UT needs an example of what finals should look like, it need not look further than our maroon-blooded rivals to the east. Texas A&M’s final day of class in spring 2018 for undergraduates was May 1, a Tuesday. Just two days later, on May 3, finals began and only lasted four days. A&M students got out for summer break on May 8, a whopping eight days earlier than UT students. If A&M, which has approximately 10,000 more undergraduates than UT, can release its students for break in a more efficient and convenient way, what’s the holdup?
“I think that every problem I experienced during finals week could have been avoided if the schedule was a week shorter,” Rude said. “It would definitely be more intense, but if it means not having test anxiety or stress for two whole weeks, then I’m all for it.”
If UT wants the best for its students, it should decrease the number of days between the end of classes and the beginning of finals and decrease the span of finals week on the calendar. This expanded finals week schedule only exacerbates students’ anxieties and impedes travel plans for everyone, including professors.
Finals are not fun for anyone, but UT’s finals schedule definitely isn’t helping. With its students’ best interests in mind, our administration should organize finals week in a more efficient way. Time management shouldn’t be an issue for one of the best public institutions in the nation.
Caldwell is a Latin American studies and journalism sophomore from College Station.