Finals week: Expectations versus reality

By: Mary Kate Dorr – A&E Editor

Well, it’s here. The only thing standing between you and a month-long break filled with home-cooked meals, above average water pressure and avoiding high school acquaintances: finals week. You tried to deny it, but as your professors began reminding you to fill out your teacher evaluation surveys, fear crept in. Suddenly, it was time to hit the books and try to refresh yourself on all the information you gleaned between August and now. However, finals week doesn’t always play out the way we would like, so here’s a glance at your expectations for finals week versus how it actually went.

Expectation: You will start studying more than a week in advance so you’re significantly less stressed during finals week.
Reality: You looked over your class notes twice before concluding that without the pressure of an immediate deadline, it’s physically impossible to bring yourself to open your notebook. “A” for effort, I guess.

Expectation: You will set your alarm at an early hour to get a good table at the library.
Reality: Your alarm goes off and in a daze you search for the snooze button, wondering how you ever thought you could bring yourself to leave your bed at this hour in the middle of (this very mild) December. Repeat cycle until you eventually give up, turn off the alarm and emerge from your blanket cocoon another REM cycle later.

Expectation: Reward yourself with a five minute break in the middle of a productive study session.
Reality: You suddenly find yourself 37-weeks deep in your cousin’s best friend’s boyfriend’s sister’s Instagram and wonder in what direction your life is headed.

Expectation: You will use every single one of the 300 color-coded notecards you bought.
Reality: You get a hand cramp two chapters into the study guide and resort to typing all of your notes out. Consequently, typing involves a computer, which leads to Internet access that opens the door to hundreds and hundreds videos of unlikely animal friendships and YouTube vlogs.

Expectation: You promise yourself that you won’t sit with your friends at the library, so you can focus on your work.
Reality: After 30 minutes of loudly whispering about unrelated topics perched on the edge of your friend’s table, you give up and move your books to their area. The rest of your library visit includes fits of silent laughter and zoomed-in Snapchats of your friend attempting to focus.

Expectation: The study guide provided by your teacher will be incredibly useful.
Reality: After what seems like several hours of searching through your notebook, you conclude that absolutely nothing on this study guide was ever discussed in class. If possible, you feel less confident than you did before and begin to accept the reality that you will never move out of your parents’ house.

Expectation: You will get cash back for exactly how much your books were worth when selling textbooks back.
Reality: You get enough cash to barely afford your usual Chipotle order and decide that instead of Christmas shopping, you can offer the gift of your presence to your parents this holiday season.

Expectation: You will diligently read all of the chapters you never quite got around to finishing and re-copy your notes in neater handwriting.
Reality: You get frustrated because you never know what or how much to highlight when scanning your textbook and resort to just skimming your notes again.

Expectation: You will ace all of your finals and boost your GPA with a solid 4.0.
Reality: You blackout moments after your professor hands you the final exam and spend a few minutes blankly staring at the clock. After regaining composure, you spend the rest of the exam period nervously making sure your scantron does not have too many “C’s” in a row, then turn it in and pray that your effort this semester paid off.

Whether you passed with flying colors or plan to avoid checking your gradebook for a while, one of your expectations is coming true: a month free of cracking textbooks, taking notes and lugging a backpack around.

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