This time of year, everyone seems to go a little stir crazy. The rain breaks, the trees bloom and seniors see an end in sight.
This time of year, everyone seems to go a little stir crazy. The rain breaks, the trees bloom and seniors see an end in sight. It’s understandable that students and teachers alike want summer to come as quickly as possible, but the strain of early finals and too much homework may be breaking the backs of many students during Portland State’s dead week.
At nearly every university, the week before finals week is set aside for students to study and work on term papers. Some call it “dead week,” while others call it “hell week.” It seems that lately, the latter term is more appropriate.
Every term, the PSU Programming Board hosts a Midnight Breakfast in the middle of the week to give students a chance to take a break from studying. For some, by the Wednesday of dead week, most of their finals may already be over. An increasing number of classes have scheduled finals outside of their predetermined time-slots or are simply canceling them altogether.
During dead week, many students are putting finishing touches on projects, papers and weekly assignments. These activities are fine, but should be due before dead week or during finals week in lieu of an exam.
PSU recognizes dead week in its Housing Code of Conduct by extending quiet hours during dead and finals week to 22 hours per day.
This policy is an admission of the need for students to have time and peace in which to study for their impending finals. However, when final exams and term papers are scheduled for dead week, students lose the chance to properly prepare themselves. Many students now face studying for exams, finishing papers and completing projects during the week before dead week, which does not have extended quiet hours.
Also lost is another chance for instruction and review during an already extremely short 10-week term. For example, a class during spring term which meets once per week for three hours on Monday already has less in-class time than most classes which meet twice per week. With the observance of Memorial Day, the class would only meet nine times. If the final exam was given early—as many are—then there would be only seven classes of actual instruction. If one class period was used for review, then there would be six instructional sessions—leaving only 18 total hours of class learning time.
If a project or paper is to take the place of an exam, it should be due during that week, not earlier, out of respect to students and other professors who have exams during the allotted time. To preserve the sanity of students—who are also juggling jobs, families and extracurricular activities—final exams should be given during finals week.