The Daily Illini

The home stretch — finals week

By Kate Cullen

With Thanksgiving break in the rearview mirror and winter break on the horizon, there is only one thing standing in the way of the month-long break filled with sleeping in and doing absolutely nothing — finals. The season of late night study sessions is upon us and in full swing since students returned to school just days ago. 

Finals have snuck up on us once again, and just like the cat in the background of Miley Cyrus’s latest performance, the fast approaching finals are something we did not expect and were not prepared for.

Many of us have experienced the torture of finals week firsthand, but for those of you who have killed too many brain cells celebrating extracurricular activities, for those who were abroad last semester and were too busy eating gelato to even remember finals, or for those freshmen who still think they are in high school and believe finals begin after break, here are some things you can expect. 

This is for you — pay close attention.

Dark clouds will hover over the University like Dementors at a Quidditch match as finals loom over the coming weeks. Your only job is to make sure they do not suck out your soul. 

It is a difficult task, but somehow the majority of students are able to make it out alive and walk into the light at the end of the tunnel that is winter break. Before you get there, though, there are some things to keep in mind while preparing for your final exams.

First of all, do not try to go to the Undergraduate Library. 

You will not get a table, or a seat for that matter, unless you bring your sleeping bag, a bottle of water and plan on stalking a group of people at a table until they give up and get up. If you are one of the lucky few to score a table, hold on to it like it is a golden ticket. 

Do not get up to go to the bathroom, send your friends to bring you coffee, and for the love of God, you better hope you have your laptop charger with you.

Make friends with the nice barista gods at Espresso. 

Be pleasant and try not to look dead when you order your venti non-fat, slim latte with ten extra shots of espresso because if they like you they will punch your free coffee card twice for one purchase. That way, you score a free cup of coffee faster, but they only do that if they like you.

Netflix will become your best friend. Don’t ask why, it just will. 

If you have not scammed a user name and password from someone else yet, make sure you get one fast because you will become very close with Netflix and its plethora of shows during these tough times. It makes sense to begin the ten seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” during the busiest time of the year when procrastination is at its peak — because what else are you going to do, study? 

I don’t think so. 

If you are one of those people who magically do not have finals or get to leave to go home before finals even begin, do not speak to anyone about it. 

Chances are, anyone you tell your plans to has a final on the last day at the last time slot and will not take kindly to your happy-go-lucky attitude about how finals are not really that hard. Bow out in silence and be respectful of those who must endure the struggle the longest.

For some, your finals schedule may be so spread out that it is possible for you to return home for a few days and then come back to the University to take your final. Sure, that sounds good in theory because you get a few extra days at home and of course you will study the whole time — no. 

No, that is the worst plan ever. Not only will you not study, but coming back to school will be more painful than having your wisdom teeth removed without anesthesia. It is unnatural, wrong and if you plan on passing your final exam, you will suck it up and stay at school until it is over.

Though I do not hold the secrets to acing every final exam, I do know a thing or two about how to survive finals week. Even though it may seem impossible to write a research paper for all of your classes in a 48-hour time period, just remember that this is only temporary. 

The end is near. And you will never have to do this again — until the end of spring semester rolls around.

Kate is a senior in LAS. She can be reached at [email protected]

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