Finals week in college is an interesting time. For the first time since August, it feels like everything halts.
Maybe that’s a weird way of thinking about it, because the amount of studying that is occurring on this campus right now can in no way be described as a “break.” When I say that campus halts, I mean that the regular obligations – classes, meetings, programs, info sessions, and the bulk of what makes up my day during the school year – suddenly drops out.
It’s not exactly free time, but it feels kind of liberating. Finals week can be brutal, but in an effort to only think positive thoughts, here are some of the things that I actually kind of like about this week.
1) Studying off campus becomes a million times easier. During the year, I really only have free time in 2-3 hour chunks, if I’m lucky. By the time I get myself to an off-campus study spot, order some food, and mentally prepare myself to actually focus, the amount of time I have left to study isn’t nearly worth the effort of going off-campus in the first place. Since I have no classes or meetings this week, I’m free to crank out my papers and study guides wherever I’d like. If nothing else, it’s a nice change of pace.
2) Our campus community is pretty strong as it is, but the level of moral support reaches a high during finals week. Everywhere I go, there’s a study break, also known as FREE FOOD, hosted by some student organization. I am completely serious when I say that you could probably sustain yourself for the entire week on the free food from study breaks (though I wouldn’t recommend it because your diet would largely consist of doughnuts, bagels, coffee, and Jake’s Bakes). Vanderbilt Programming Board even put on a Stress Fest last week that featured free massages and manicures.
3) It might seem counterintuitive, but I spend a lot more time with my friends during finals week because no one is running off to other obligations. Granted, most of the time, we’re just sitting together in silence as we study, but it’s always nice to have the company and support.
4) As some lucky students start to head home, and other (less lucky) student are holed up in the library, campus gets a little quieter. One of my favorite study breaks (besides eating) is just stepping outside and taking a little walk. We’ve been blessed with a December in the high 60s (fingers crossed for similar weather after the break?), and it just feels good outside. It’s nice to be reminded that while procrastinating on that paper may have been the wrong decision, coming to Vanderbilt was definitely the right one.