A Different Kind of Finals Week

This is the fall semester of my senior year. Senioritis has definitely kicked in. Especially this semester for me, finals is something totally different. As I’ve mentioned all semester, this one is varied in the classes I’m taking, the learning style, the homework commitment, and examination of said learning.

My FINALS breakdown:

2 takehomes

1 presentation & report

1 lab report

1 ethics paper

1 research presentation

I don’t have a single final cumulative exam this semester. Not one. And that’s pretty unusual for a science major, like super unusual. As I only had one class give out exams: Molecular Biology, its not too surprising that I didn’t have a final exam. I’m not sure where I stand on cumulative exams except it seems kinda unreasonable to ask us to memorize or know every single thing we learned this semester. And I know our professors aren’t actually asking us to do that but when ALL the material we went over could be covered during the exam then yeah it is asking us to know everything, every little thing.

I feel like takehomes is such a vague term for a exam that it could’ve been anything: a 10 page essay on a very specific hard prompt, many short answers, data analysis or some other kind of paper. Luckily my two takehomes follow in the latter: “shorter” prompt long response answers. The only thing is both takehomes have two prompts EACH making four takehomes actually. But that’s not too bad in the bigger scheme of things when during past reading periods and exam weeks I was cramming all the material for my exams.

What finals really comes down to is what is most important and interesting to me. Which final is coming first and do I need to prepare for sooner? Which final comes last and may get put on the backburner because I’m working on another final? Which requires the most time? How long can I procrastinate working on the final-paper or exam? And lastly when do I need to finish said final by?

I think these are all questions students face, and everyone may answer them differently but one things for sure, when I graduate in the spring I’m definitely not gonna miss taking finals.




Exam week was always something I looked forward to in high school. Many of my finals actually took place before the actually week and were more spread out so I was not extremely stressed all at once. In math we presented our portfolio of benchmarks, orchestra was sight-reading new music, English was timed writing, Japanese was a kanji exam and that left only a science & social studies exam to take. Those exam weeks were immensely easier than my first college exams this week. There is an infinite more amount of pressure just because I’m taking college exams now instead of high school exams. But while those easier days are gone, I’m glad that I’m continually learning more and pushing myself to become a stronger learner.

Since last weekend my friends and I have spent A LOT of time studying together. In high school the exams seemed just as scary but I could get away with less studying and above passing grades and so I made do. Now, studying more seems an integral part of the college experience. During classes, as soon as late afternoon hit we convened to study together before getting dinner and heading off. During reading period my friends and I would meet up for meals and then head straight back to studying.

I’m not saying we were extremely studious 24/7 for the last week in particular, but it nearly felt like that. We did stop at Diversions or Oppenheimer to grab drinks and some snacks before settling in, sometimes taking walks around or checking our email and social networking sites. I’ve perfected our Pandora & Spotify playlists to have different music for my moods of studying; when I need a major boost: my Girls Generation & Big Bang (kpop) station, feeling sad about studying: 98 Degrees & Oldies station, and getting into the spirit and feeling confident station: Contemporary Christmas Station. We’ve switched up our locations, 3rd floor Harned Hall to watch the sky, 4th floor library alcove to stay comfy and watch the rain fall, and in the Sub alternating.

harned sunset photo photo

And magically enough the time has passed by quickly enough my first exam is tomorrow morning bright and early. It’s about finding your own comfort level in studying, with whom, listening to what, where you are and telling yourself “You Can Do It!!” And the weather and atmosphere of Puget Sound left so many options me to find places to get studying done; hopefully it really pays off during exams and grades! Happy Exam Week everyone!