As the abomination of finals week looms closer, college students across the nation scramble to get their pencils sharpened, notes in place, laptops charged and textbooks open. Energy drinks and coffee sit stoically on the edges of students’ desks, within an arm’s reach. Eye bags adorn our fatigued and wearied faces. This is a bleak time at UC San Diego.
Luckily, certain traditions take place to break Tritons away from hitting the books…too hard.
1. Geisel Library
Reaching the end of the quarter, we are scathed by heavy workloads, drained but somehow still alive. Towards the end of Week 9, UC San Diego’s Geisel Library metamorphoses into a Hunger Games arena–everyone is on the hunt for seats. Scanning the room, you are met with cursory glances, hushed murmurs, a lot of bent necks and rapid scribbling and typing. Audrey’s Cafe, a coffee shop, is hectic, charged with satisfying the sleep-deprived Tritons with cold brews and espressos to sustain their study sessions. As you ascend, the levels get quieter and quieter. Floors four through eight are the de facto hardcore studying spots. “Geisel serves as the most convenient, universal study location to study with friends and separate your schoolwork from your social life. Being at Geisel makes me feel like I have to be working on school,” said Jason Isa, a second-year student. For many students, Geisel is home away from home.
2. Angela’s Space
With its close proximity to the Oceanview Terrace dining hall (the pizzas are to die for) and Marshall Residence Halls, Angela’s Space is a cozy and convenient studying spot. Equipped with large desks and couches, the area is geared towards group study sessions. “Angela’s Space is conveniently located near my dorm, and holds a lot of positive memories for me,” said Prothit Halder, a UC San Diego freshman. Angela’s Space serves as the perfect location for study sessions and contagious laughter.
3. Middle of Muir
Known by most as MOM, the lounge offers couches, desks and chairs, computers and printers, a convenience store and a merchandise shop. MOM also hosts open mic nights spotlighting student talent, cultural music and dance performances. The student-staff of MOM are happy to assist students in finding blue (exam) books and scantrons, drink and snacks, sandwiches and salads, cold brews and lattes and a selection of exclusive Muir merch. Inside MOM lies the best coffee shop on campus, the Muir Woods Coffee House. With fair-trade, organic and exotic coffee beans and premium tea leaves on rotation, Muir Woods is definitely a favorite among students. Baristas are hospitable as they craft beverages and pastries. Bathing in the kick of caffeine and the subtle aroma of coffee, students love grinding it out at Muir Woods during finals season.
4. Price Center Hammocks
The comfortable and serene hammocks outside Price Center, UC San Diego’s food court, are never empty. Laying there under the sun with eyes closed and ankles crossed helps students imagine a balmy break in the hectic finals week. Located only a short distance from Geisel, students can even take a nice afternoon nap on these hammocks (tough luck finding open spots though). The end to the stress is near…
UC San Diego has the largest Reddit population among the University of California schools. Although Reddit users are stereotypically characterized as aloof and unsociable given the occasional morbidity and pessimism in their posts, Reddit users at UC San Diego are very uplifting and helpful. With 35.4k Tritons in the Reddit community, many students befriend and offer advice to each other on the platform. Be it to offer or seek advice or share uplifting memes with the UC San Diego community, students are more active on Reddit during the stressful final season.
6. Sunset by Black’s Beach
Black’s Beach is home to two types of people: nudists and surfers. Compared to the neighboring La Jolla Shores, Black’s Beach is far more tranquil and private. During the school year, many students hike down to Black’s for a nice morning surf or go to the cliffs to witness San Diego’s beautiful sunsets. Over finals season, the number of students venturing to Black’s to see the sunset increases. There’s something so calming about watching hues of red, pink and yellow streak across the horizon and melt into a deep azure. “The sunset leaves me refreshed, which is much needed after studying for hours,” said Jadyn Kim, a first-year student. Being in the company of friends and nature provides an escape from test anxiety.
7. The Sun God Ritual
At UC San Diego, we worship the Sun God deity. The Sun God statue, a 14-feet tall multicolored bird-like creature perched on top of a 15-feet high concrete arch covered in vines, is located in Muir College and is part of the Stuart Art Collection. During midterms and finals, students walk or hop backward through the arch with their eyes closed for good luck.
8. The Undie Run
Ah, the infamous Undie Run of UC San Diego. At 11 p.m. on the Wednesday of finals week, groups of students strip to their underwear in front of Geisel Library and run to the Revelle Fountain as a fun final tradition. First hosted in 2005 “UCSD Students for a Sexier Campus” a devoted crowd of thong-clad students (consisting of both men and women) gathered for the Undie Run, an event designed to break students from their repressive study habits for cheers, laughter and,of course, embarrassment. Students studying in Geisel revel at the spectacle, blowing up their stories on Snapchat and Instagram.
9. The Primal Scream
At precisely 10 p.m. during finals week every quarter, screams of all octaves and pitches reverberate through UC San Diego for five minutes, followed by the distribution of free Krispy Kreme donuts. Students across campus release their pent-up stress and anxiety over their plunging grades, absence of social life, disintegrating career dreams, and everything in between, into a primal scream, a collective wail of angst and distress. “Spring quarter of my first year is when I actually screamed some stress away and it helped. It’s wild. People scream from their dorm windows if they don’t want to walk out to where the donuts are,” junior Francheska Bautista said. Screaming stress out into the void and hearing other students do the same is an incredibly releasing experience.
10. The Grind Never Stops
UC San Diego is one of the 15 percent of universities in the nation to operate under a quarter system. In such a system, midterms take over week four and eight, followed by finals after week ten. Interspersed between the major events are essays, projects and homework. As a result, instructions are often rushed, schedules packed, workloads heavy and study hours long. “I always feel like there’s something I need to do…The entire quarter is a race and then we do it all over again with a new set of classes,” freshman Waverly Kim said. To UC San Diego Tritons, the grind never stops.