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.



Decisions, Decisions…

Many freshmen have no idea what they want to study. They’re just getting their cores out of the way and figuring it out as they go along. That’s not the case for all freshmen though. I know a friend of mine who is double majoring and minoring. Poor guy. We’re only freshmen and he knows that the years ahead will be hell academics-wise.

Meanwhile, I’ve only figured out what I want to major in, Geology. I like Geology, it’s neat. We can learn so much from rocks, like the atmosphere of the Earth millions of years ago or the effects of pollution on aquatic species. Okay, both of those are a bit of a stretch, but studying rocks and minerals can yield a whole world of information.

But I also want to minor in something. I’m split between Communication Studies and Computer Science. I enjoy both topics. I’ve been extremely passionate about computers my whole life, working for a tech company the last 2 summers. But communication is just so fascinating. How communication has evolved from noises our mouths make to invisible signals in the air to text on a screen is mind boggling. I wish I could pick both.

Too bad I can’t. I mentioned that my friend was double majoring and minoring. I don’t remember the specific majors and minors he is going for, but the only reason he is able to do that is that they all overlap with one another. Classes will fulfill the requirements for multiple majors and minors. Geology doesn’t overlap with either of my potential minors. I can only pick one or the other.

So now I’m stuck. Do I opt for something I’m passionate in or something I’m interested in? Or do I toss everything out the window and pursue my lifelong dream to be a professional puppy cuddler? Decisions, decisions.

I really should go to sleep. None of this worrying will matter if I don’t do well on my finals.

Finals Drag On

During the time of finals there is no feeling of Christmas in the air at all. All the students are going through their piles of notes, stack of note cards, reviewing powerpoints and, or editing and re-editing their papers. There’s so much grasping our immediate attention we don’t have time to think about Christmas, family, our holiday shopping or the generally merry cheer. And that makes me sad to think about, that our exams have taken over so much, ask so much of us that we are anxious students this past reading period and finals week. There’s an imperceptible feeling of dampened all-night studying and general anxiety cloaked over campus as we pass the mid-week of Finals. Some of my friends didn’t start their finals until today! While some of my friends are already completely down and ready to get into the holiday spirit now.

I don’t recall my high school finals to be this studious or heavy feeling at all but I guess that’s the thing about college. In high school our grades only mattered to get into college if that and now, these grades determine our future- if we go to grad school, if we pass this class into the next upper level class or internship and job opportunities after college. The real world is out there and we can feel it watching us this finals week. And that’s the truth of it, some of my senior friends are graduating at the end of this week, and that’s crazy to think as well. Finals is the end of another semester, another chapter to our life, one more step closer to graduation and the real world. While i’m having all these mildly deep thoughts I’m going to get back to studying. But my one motivator to get through one more day? The fact I get to go home on Friday, that I will soon be back to the humid, warm, sunny blue skies of beautiful Hawaii and in the warm  embrace of my family of friends!

A hui ho until the end of finals!