Many students hit UI libraries hard during finals week

By Patrick Wade

Students at the library this week are either working there or fervently preparing for finals.

As much as a student might think they have the hardest exams or the most difficult papers to write at the end of each semester, everyone is going through a similar experience.

But not everyone is preparing the same way.

“I usually start this week,” said Chris Wang, sophomore in AHS. “I go to the library a lot. Pretty much since there’s no class, I’m there all day.”

Wang’s favorite place to study is Grainger Library. It is more quiet, he said, and less crowded.

Merinda Hensley, instructional services librarian in the Main Library, said the library does see a significant increase in traffic during finals week.

“The study space becomes a lot more crowded during finals week,” Hensley said. “So finding a quiet place to study, for example in the Undergrad, is a lot harder. We see a lot more traffic than other libraries, in the Main Library in particular.”

In response to this, library hours are extended. The Undergraduate Library shifts to 24-hour service.

“I’ll probably go to the library if it’s open,” said Phillip Robinson, senior in Engineering. “Just get away from distractions, get away from the computer, get away from the TV and turn off the phone.”

Hensley said library employees are there for the students.

“The reference librarians are here to help you through finals week,” Hensley said. “When you have questions about research or citing materials, you should come into the library or use the Ask-A-Librarian service.”

The Ask-A-Librarian service is one of the most popular features provided by the library during finals week, Hensley said. The service allows students to communicate with a librarian from home via AOL Instant Messenger or through the library’s Web site.

Some students like to stay away from the library altogether.

“I pretty much study alone, just in my room, so it’s quiet,” said Alex Martin, sophomore in LAS.

He added that he tends to stay up all night for the tests he feels he is less prepared for, and stresses out if he still feels he is not prepared.

Deidre Weathersby, a clinical counselor at the Counseling Center, said grueling study schedules could add to a student’s stress level.

Weathersby said students should learn to deal with stress by setting realistic goals and to not “set themselves up for failure.” Also, students should manage their time wisely.

“I think that’s more of a worry is meeting a particular standard that has either been placed on you or a personal standard,” Weathersby said.

The Counseling Center has workshops every Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

On Dec. 4, the center held a class titled, “T’was the Night before Finals: Avoiding the Cram.” Past workshops have also dealt with study skills and time management.

“Those are really incredible programs,” Weathersby said. “If students missed any of these this semester, it’s certainly something to look out for next semester.”

However students decide to prepare for finals this semester, sometimes it will simply come down to experience.

“When I was a freshman I saw a tutor for one of my classes, but that’s just because I didn’t know how to study for college finals,” Wang said. “Now that I know what to do I can pretty much do it for myself.”

Need help from a librarian at home? Use the Ask-A-Librarian service.

Using AOL Instant Messenger, send a message to:

  • ‘askuiuc’ for the Main Library
  • ‘askundergrad’ for the Undergraduate Library