By Taylor Roar
With tests starting as early as Wednesday, the stress of impending finals is weighing heavily on the everyday life of students at the University of Maryland, and the university isn’t doing much to help, students say.
Depending on the number of classes they take, students can have from one to six or more finals by the end of the semester. This doesn’t include any final projects, papers or other homework assignments professors may assign. As students strain to study for all of their finals, many succumb to stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation.
For sophomore physiology and neurobiology major Shawn Sullivan, the work and stress has caused a never-ending cycle of sleep deprivation. Sullivan said his heavy workload landed him six finals this semester, three of which are on the same day.
With the semester’s load of homework just now winding down, he hasn’t been able to study enough, he said. “I have started studying a little, but not enough to feel ready for my exams. I study whenever I have time right now,” he said.
In order to make as much time as possible to keep up with his studying, Sullivan said he’s been staying up late and drinking several caffeinated drinks a day. Eventually, the caffeine depletes and he crashes, he said.
Other students agreed that their sleep schedule has been falling by the wayside as finals approach. Junior psychology major Sarah Tayel complained about the last-minute assignments her professors have given. “Not only is the fact that finals are coming up preventing me from sleeping too much, but professors tend to pile up assignments in the weeks leading up to finals,” she said.
With all of the studying there’s left to do in a short time period, Tayel said she won’t be getting any rest for a while. “What is sleep?” she laughed.
The university does offer events aimed at helping student de-stress, especially toward the ends of the semesters. For example, Puppy Palooza will be held in Stamp Dec. 10 to allow students to relax by petting dogs. The counseling center also offers free meditation sessions by appointment throughout the semester.
However, students didn’t seem to know, or care for that matter, what the de-stress events were. Sophomore computer engineering major Nick Williams said he doesn’t have time to attend the events. “I’ve heard of the de stressing events, but I haven’t gone to them mostly because I use that time to study for the exam rather than de-stress,” said Williams.
Freshman, psychology major Ann-Therese Greaves said she hasn’t been stressed for finals much, but even if she was the events “don’t seem super interesting anyway.”
If university officials want to help them avoid stress toward the end of the semester, they should adjust the finals schedule, students agreed.
“I do wish that departments would collaborate more than they do now,” said Williams. He recalled a time during midterms when a professor asked students how many exams they had. “He said raise your hand if you have more than one exam this week. Two? Three?,” said Williams.
“In a 30 person class, almost everyone had their hand raised,” said Williams.
Several students suggested that having more reading days would be beneficial.
“I wish we had a reading week instead of just a single day How [does] UMD expect us to absorb a semester’s worth of information for four to six courses in a single day?” Tayel said.
Even just one more reading day would make a difference, said Sullivan.
Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Austin Kirk’s Flickr account.
Taylor Roar is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.