The Five People You Meet During Finals
1) Auditionees for A Beautiful Mind
You open the door to a seemingly unoccupied Wilson Hall study room and peek inside. There are scattered cups of coffee lying on the floor and overturned on the desks, stacks of paper miles high covering every surface, and a figure with their back to you, standing precariously balanced on a chair. They’re frantically scribbling on a whiteboard. They have been frantically scribbling on a whiteboard for a long, long time, as every other available inch of the seminar room’s three walls are entirely covered in…organic chemistry? Arabic? Advanced macroeconomic theory?
The sound of the door opening startles them. They turn their head around to look at you, neck twisting just slightly more than you’re comfortable with. It’s a little Exorcist-y. Meanwhile, their hand doesn’t stop moving as they draw hexagonal benzene rings with a precision you’ve never seen before. They are wearing sweatpants that do not at all match their shirt. You mumble a quick “sorry” and duck out of the room. This is not someone you should mess with.
(And yes, those are my mechanism-covered whiteboards. I’m very proud of them. They helped me get a good grade in Orgo this semester, although I think they’re less Beautiful Mind and more like that scene in 21 Jump Street where Channing Tatum draws 4s all over the board in his Chemistry class.)
2) The Humanities Major
The week after Thanksgiving was a nightmare for them. 40 pages of papers all due in one day, three HOD group projects, and a ton of presentation work…but they don’t have a single scheduled final exam. They are done. They’ve peaced out. They’re at home, seeing Star Wars and snuggling their pets and being fed delicious home-cooked meals. Do I sound bitter? Oops. It’s okay, though, they paid it forward.
(To my roommate: you had all those papers AND three finals, and you’re a hero. But also, your bed was the closest empty bed I could take a photo of without leaving my bed. So thanks.)
3) The Dead-Eyed Zombie
They shuffle into Central Library and heave themselves into a carrel. Whether or not they have that many finals, they can only do finals week by burning the candle at EVERY END POSSIBLE, and sometimes in the middle a little bit, too. You see them open a book, attempt to make sense of a highlighter, and promptly give up on both.
You make eye contact with them as you pass by on your way to Food for Thought. You see them…but you’re not sure they see you. After a week or so of catching up on sleep, though, they’ll be okay.
There is a soft thwump as their head falls down onto their open book, which, at that moment, is a pillow of unparalleled softness.
4) The Over-Caffeinated Overachiever
The table they’ve stationed themselves at in Starbucks is one-third books, two-thirds empty coffee cups. Their blood is eighty percent espresso at this point and they are ready! To! Learn! Their notes are almost illegible, though, as they’ve pumped so much caffeine into their bodies that their hands are shaking. You are concerned, but the smile they offer you is so dazzling that you decide it’s best to just leave them be. They’ll go through the throes of withdrawal after finals, but for now, they’ve got a six-page paper due in two and a half hours and they are about to attack it with a voraciousness typically only seen in Animal Planet documentaries about lions.
5) The “I Leave Tomorrow at Five a.m. But I Haven’t Started Packing”
Actual words from one of my friends this morning…at two a.m. So technically, he should’ve said “I leave today at five a.m.” But that’s semantics.
This is the person who is just so OVER the concept of actually doing things, you know? They’ve worked so hard this semester, juggling their extracurriculars, organizing the VUDM Big Event, joining Tour Guides, taking a heavy course-load, shadowing at the medical center, spearheading their new performing arts group…the very last thing they want to think about right now is accomplishing another task. They just want to chill. In silence. Surrounded by all of their empty suitcases.
Besides, 30 minutes is plenty of time to pack for three weeks, right?
I’ve loved getting to write for y’all this semester! Can’t wait to bring you more adventures and high-key snark when we come back in January. Until then, Happy Holidays! Enjoy this photo of me being really bad at using Snapchat filters.