It’s that time of the year when college students are studying way more than they are sleeping. When coffee shops serve over half the student population on a daily basis. A time of mental breakdowns and cramming and students ceasing to have a social life. As students, we all know how much other students are suffering. But have you ever thought about how how professors feel during the week-that-shall-not-be-named? After all, your professors were once coffee-dependent students cramming for their finals too.
Professors Ride the Struggle Bus during Finals Too
“I stress over final exams and there’s a great deal of pressure with getting the exams written. Often times the exams are very late in the week so I have two exams on Thursday and the grades are due on Monday.” —Professor Myra Leann Brown, University of Florida
“My concern with the final exam is that I want to make sure that it’s fair to the students, but it’s really hard for me to make it be so objective. Part of the problem with multiple-choice is that if you misread the question, or mark the wrong thing, I have no way of knowing that and so you lose the points” —Professor Mary Roca, University of Florida
Students are exhausted at the end of the semester but so are professors. For every test you take, they had to write and grade it. They are ordering the same drink from Starbucks in the morning that you are. You think that professors have gray hair due to age? No. That’s from final exam stress. Instead of late night cramming, they are up past midnight making questions and grading your papers.
Multiple Choice: That’s That Stuff Professors Don’t Like
“I prefer projects and papers. I think that people take away more from papers and experience because it turns almost into a specialization…it is more about quality than memorization.” —Professor Michael Stone, University of Florida
“Final exams always seem kind of sterile to me.” —Professor Roca
Sometimes, whether or not you have a final exam is the decision of the college and not the professor. Some professors don’t want to have a final exam, but are forced to be Scarface and play the bad guy. Professors who don’t like exams give students papers and projects as a way to make sure the final doesn’t obliterate a student’s GPA like Exodia. So that thousand-word essay you thought was legal torture might have been a favor…even though you would never believe it.
University’s Believe it or Not: They Were College Students Too
“I liked studying…I did just what I suggested to you. I was a real hot-dog for the A so I did my reading and I studied diligently and I think in all undergraduate school I only made one B.” —Professor Brown
“I’m not a good test-taker so I sympathize with people who struggle with them.” —Professor Roca
As hard as it is to believe, that professor at the podium was once a student sitting in a desk. Professors used to study without sleep, write insanely long essays and take exams that seemed like they cover the entirety of human existence. They know what you are going through and try to make it fair for you.
Professors Get Lonely Too
“If you’re talking to your professor from the beginning of the semester, you’re not that kid that showed up finals week, who the professor doesn’t know, asking a bunch of questions that you should’ve already known in the beginning.” —Professor Roca
That’s what office hours are for. Professors are not grade-destroying monsters…typically. Professors want to engage you in the material and there is no better way of doing that than talking to them directly. Otherwise they just sit during office hours, looking at the empty seat at the other end of their desk. Professors want to help, and every time you don’t use their office hours it’s like you’re swiping left.
Time Management or bust
“You need to have friends and have time off, but you need to regard school as your job.” —Professor Brown
“Students coming out of high school, they are not good at planning and knowing their limitations. So get a calendar…start working on something ahead of time. Time management means working 2-3 weeks ahead. Stress management is knowing when to study and when to take a break.” —Professor Stone
Time management is a skill professors hope students learn before they’re out in the real world. There is no Delorean that can bring you back to the past, so time management is vital when trying to do well on a final exam.
Professors Are the Best Study Buddies
“The first thing a student can do is to attend class regularly so that you would hear the conversation. You should meet with a study group and if anything was unclear you should talk to the professor about it. I call for a full court press! Do everything.” —Professor Brown
“I would lean toward the lectures when cramming because then you know what the class has been mainly about.” —Professor Roca
The professors are the ones who wrote the exam. They made the game and have all the cheat codes. Coming to see them when trying to decide how to study will guide you toward what you need to focus on.