Frenzied Finals: How BU Students Cope

The definition of December for college students: home, freedom, family, but first: finals.

The one-week period in December when students flood the library, crack open their textbooks, and absorb all the information that they can in a small time frame has finally arrived. Whether it’s working on a final project or re-learning an entire syllabus, it is fair to say that most Boston University students (and students across the country) are nervous for their final tests, exams, and projects and are looking forward to break.

“I don’t think I have any more energy to focus on classes while I am this close to going home,” said Elsa Koc (CAS ’18).

U.S. News provides 15 Hot Tips for Finals. Among them is advice such as reading instructions, making a plan, and to not panic. This echoes a 2000 study in the American Journal of Health that found teaching time management techniques can be more effective at reducing stress levels in college students for both males and females than engaging in leisure activities.

However, some students at Boston University find that time away from the textbooks serves them better. Jassim Abel (CAS ’20) said, “I listen to a lot of music, walk a lot, and be with friends.”

Kelsey Thurber, an instructor at Bikram Yoga and junior at Sargent College, says yoga certainly helps students “de-stress” for finals.

“Instead living in the future, where you’re anxious about what is to come, or living in the past, feeling sad about what may have been, you get to spend a chunk of time with yourself in the present moment,” Thurber said. “In that process you get time away from any of life’s stressors.”

While finals may be hard, it might be the peer pressure of needing to be wired that leads to higher stress. In fact, there is a culture of being scared for them, says Erin Nabney (COM ’19). “I do get stressed for finals, mostly because people make such a big fuss about them,” she said.

Sometimes the best way to ignore the fateful week is just to pretend it does not exist and look forward to something this holiday season.

Edward Luka (ENG ’19) said, “I pretend that they won’t come for a couple of hours.” He added that he is simultaneously counting down to the new Star Wars movie, which comes out on the first day of finals.

One way or another, students are finding a way to approach and get over the “test” of finals week, whether that be facing them head-on or choosing to completely ignore them, but one thing is for sure: everybody ends up at the exact same place – home.

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