Exam schedules increase student stress amid finals chaos

Kathryn Williams , Editor in Chief

The week we’ve all been dreading is upon us, it’s officially finals season. Stress is inevitable as deadlines and assignments reach their peak. There are admirable attempts from the College to help. I think the Geisel Library may have my favorite holiday decorations, plus I’m always counting down the hours until the next “snack attack” or “pet-a-pooch.” However, the schedules put forth by the Registrar and Office of Residential Life may be more harmful than helpful during this busy time.

This semester, students have only one reading day. A mere 24 hours separates the end of classes and the annual Christmas Feast from the beginning of final exams. In previous years, including Fall 2021, there have been 2 reading days. Having an extra reading day may seem slight, but it can make a world of a difference for college students during this time.

Students are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. They are trying to prepare for exams while wrapping up their coursework. They are trying to balance a social life, preparing to say good-bye for five weeks to the friends who have become like family. Not to mention trying to take care of their physical health to avoid catching any one of the many illnesses that plague the campus during this season.

It’s the same pattern every year, which is why I am a little surprised that the College decided on a single reading day while knowing the enormous amount of stress students would be feeling. Having an extra reading day would be beneficial to students’ academic, mental, physical, and social well-being.

The last day of exams is on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 5:00 pm. The gift of this last exam slot is given to all those who have woken up for 8:30 classes every Tuesday and Thursday morning. I can’t think of a better way to incentivize students to register for early morning classes than to guarantee that they are the very last people on campus when everyone is eager to get home for the holidays! 

Additionally, Res Life sent out a message announcing that everyone has to be out of their dorms by 6:00 pm that same day. Truly, amazing planning and coordination! In this case, students with a 5:00 pm exam have two options. They can pack and have everything out of their dorms before their exam, but that could impede on potentially valuable study time. Or they can seek accommodations from Res Life to move out later, rushing to get off campus and begin their break as soon as possible.

For now, we have to do the best we can with these demands. In the future, I hope to see schedules designed to alleviate some stress.