As 3 a.m. quickly approaches, you’re still in the same place: the library. You finally look up from your computer to find the only other people in the library are the cleaning crew and one other student asleep on their laptop keyboard as they type pages and pages of the letter “D.” The only reason you would ever even contemplate being in the library this late? Finals week. As you contemplate calling it quits for the night, you look back over to the sleeping student. Oh, precious sleep—a luxury you haven’t indulged in for almost 48 hours now. You look back to your screen filled with only five pages written of your 10-page paper due in a few hours. That’s right, not necessarily the typical finals week considering I don’t have any finals.
What does finals week look like for a communications major? Keep reading to find out.
Dear Finals Week,
How long has it been, a few months now? Wow, that’s funny. I guess it’s been so long I forgot to miss you. Now that we’ve gotten that ice breaker out of the way, I can be honest. After six finals weeks, I guess you could say we’re friends now, right? For starters, you are the bane of my existence, nothing but a time I dread every year. Though, for my major, finals week doesn’t mean final exams. It means final papers, which doesn’t change or lessen anything. You beg me for words, pages and deadlines. Every semester, I contemplate if having a “normal” finals week would be better than the endless papers and final projects. Every semester I tell myself that I’m going to better prepare for you. You know, start on things early, try to get more than three hours of sleep a night.
You’ve made me question my sanity more than once, well, you’ve actually made me question everything.
Is this expensive piece of paper worth it? Is this so-called degree worth my mental health? Should I quit now? If I do, how am I going to tell my my mom? Honestly, fearing the answer to that last question was enough to make me reconsider. But sleep deprivation makes you reconsider a lot of things. I think I’ve badgered you enough. Believe it or not, you’ve taught me plenty too. And I’m not talking about all the hard lessons I’ve learned about procrastinating. To be honest, you’ve taught me the most about myself. Although I may procrastinate a little, maybe a lot, I work best under pressure. No matter what, I always get the job done when it matters most.
One semester, I had a final paper due at 5 p.m. on a Friday. Why this particular professor would ever make a final project due at 5 p.m. rather than midnight that night, I will never understand. But if there’s one thing you taught me, it’s to always be prepared for the unexpected. I started the paper around noon that day and still turned it in right on time. Because of you, it would’ve been so easy to turn it in late and accept the 10-point deduction. “Just one thing at a time,” I kept telling myself.
Before you came into my life, I took myself for granted.
I settled for low grades that I knew I could have improved easily. I didn’t know all that I was capable of, all that I’m able to accomplish. You’ve taught me that despite all of the looming deadlines and intense pressure to succeed, one thing is always for certain: I”ll never crack. This week, I’ve had two seven-page papers, two final projects and a 6,000-word portfolio to finish all while working 35+ hours a week. It would be so easy to hand in the towel and accept defeat, but I would never give you the satisfaction. It may take me a while to find my motivation to get started, but once I set my mind to it, I always follow through. I’ve learned one thing and it’s that I can handle a lot more than I thought.
This one is to you, finals week. Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me, I’m sure there are many more to come. Can’t wait.