Column: Finals week doesn't have to be the worst week of your life

With finals week approaching, students should prepare themselves for countless memes agonizing over the tests and a flood of tweets about how much coffee their peers say they desperately need to make it through May.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I realize this column is a complaint about people complaining, but the purpose of this job negates my slight hypocrisy in this case.

First, nothing productive ever comes from complaining. Negative energy makes people less productive. Emma Seppala and Kim Cameron write in a Harvard Business Review article, “Although there’s an assumption that stress and pressure push employees to perform more, better, and faster, what cutthroat organizations fail to recognize is the hidden costs incurred.” In this case, one could think of the “cutthroat organization” as the public university system and the "employees" as its students.

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Related: Exams are useless stressor in college students' already stressful lives.

Negativity also makes people more stressed, and not to mention, less attractive to be around. Seriously, if anyone has ever tried to hang out with someone who is constantly complaining, he or she will know how annoying and counterproductive it is. Finals aren't fun for anyone; we get it.

As students, we are here to find jobs after college — just because we’re going through college does not guarantee us these jobs. Getting that degree and acing finals is not supposed to be a walk in the park; it's supposed to be a challenge. 

We are not entitled to anything we do not work for and therefore did not earn. Honestly, if one week of testing is the most stressful event in students’ lives come the end of May, I would say those lives are pretty fortunate ones.

There are positive ways to look at approaching finals, too. For example, the term finals in of itself is implying the end of the semester is near, and summer vacation is inevitable. 

Final exams are there to assess your progress in the course of the semester. If a student has been attending class regularly and doing assignments along the way, he or she will probably be able to manage at least a minimum passing grade with a reasonable amount of studying.

In regard to those “evil” professors that are inflicting the torture of finals, just think about who exactly will be the people hunched over a desk or computer grading hundreds of exams. While students are packing up their belongings or making final preparations for trips, that is what professors will be doing so they can eventually do the same.

Related: Finals Survival Week 2016: UA provides opportunities to take a load off between those tough finals.

So please, just try to be civil and kind to your teachers during finals despite your Red Bull hangover and sleep deprivation-caused crankiness. Finals week is no party for them either.

Testing is definitely not the most enjoyable activity to be doing right now, especially right as the temperature has become prime for pool parties and other outdoor adventures. However, students and students’ families made a financial obligation to a college education. Everyone might as well try to finish out the semester as best they can, and maybe even manage a smile while they’re at it. 


Follow Jessica Suriano on Twitter.



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