As a brand new freshman at Purdue, I was extremely nervous about exam week before break. The nightmarish stories I had heard filled with constant studying and no sleep had me worried I might not survive until the end of finals. I had taken midterms, which were difficult, but having four exams in four days just felt overwhelming.
Not wanting to spend the entire finals week stressed out of my mind, my friends and I decided to make a bucket list. This bucket list provided some fun and happiness in the process of taking finals. Every day, we would complete at least one item on the bucket list. These items were either Purdue traditions or something enjoyable that we had always wanted to try. Some of the items we came up with were things like: a microwave Peep battle, watching a movie and eating an entire roll of cookie dough, and doing a fountain run. My personal favorite took place this past semester when we decided to combine two bucket list items into one – having an outdoor picnic and laying under the stars.
In the middle of exam week after completing an ENGR 142 exam and a PHYS 172 exam, most of us were worn out and our brains were fried. To refresh, we scheduled a bucket list item. We turned our picnic into a birthday party for the summer birthdays, and planned it late enough at night that we would be able to see the stars. To kick off the event, we got a cookie cake from Insomnia (chocolate chip topped with peanut butter cups), which was one of the best things I have ever eaten. We took it to Slayter Hill, and set up our towels/blankets to sit on. Once we had Taylor Swift playing from the Bluetooth speaker, we cut the cake and sang happy birthday. We ended up spending a few hours there, and it felt so nice to forget about stress and exams, even if it was just for a little while.
The bucket lists that we’ve made the past two semesters have definitely saved my sanity during exam week, because it gave me something to look forward to besides sleeping. So, to any incoming freshman, my advice is to make a list of fun things you want to do and make it a goal to check the items off your list during exam week to relieve some stress!
As you can see, this is my first blog with COE recruitment and I’m so excited to be sharing my Purdue experiences with you all! I figured since it is Dead Week (see Dennis’s post below) I would talk about how I am preparing for finals and surviving the hectic work load.
During my first semester here at Purdue about a year and a half ago, I had no idea what to expect from Finals Week and especially the dreaded “Dead Week”. I decided to take the same approach I did in high school and just study for my finals in order as they were coming up. This is NOT a good idea in college. College classes pack in a lot more material and finals tend to be cumulative – so it’s best to spend equal amount of time on everything, as early as possible. I learned the hard way that studying for that Friday final on Thursday was just not going to work here. So as my 4th semester rounds out, I am taking this week as the time to make study guides, finish whatever last assignments I have to do, and continue to get regular amounts of sleep. That’s definitely key. Last semester I started off Dead Week hard and got a lot done, but my sleep schedule never got back on track and I was drained by the time finals week rolled around. This picture from last semester in Hick Undergrad Library at around 2:30 AM during dead week pretty much sums it up:
That’s a very tired and sad Kelly. But this semester I am determined to get a full 8 hours (that’s usually around 5/6 in college terms) a night and keep my sanity up. I would definitely recommend taking this time you have in high school to find out what study habits work best for you and changing it up every so often- you never know! I am happy to have found what works for me and what will hopefully make this finals week a breeze! Well, probably not but at least I know that I will have prepared to the best of my abilities.
The week before finals at many universities is dubbed “Dead Week,” supposedly because of how you will feel by the time the week is over (head over to the Wikipedia article for an interesting read). So the question remains: how dead is Dead Week?
Well, it really varies from semester to semester. In the fall, my dead week comprised of working deadline-to-deadline, having a project or a paper due from Tuesday until Friday. Needless to say, after many sleepless nights and almost zero time to relax, this picture epitomizes how I felt:
That’s my roommate passed out on the floor of his room after working on a project for quite a few hours. Thankfully though, I was able to find my bed before passing out to catch up on sleep after my monster of a week.
On the other end of the spectrum, however, sometimes your dead week can be pretty mild: you might have one or two papers/projects to finish up, but after that you are set to go to start studying for your finals the following week.
During dead week, the university mandates that you cannot have a test or quiz in any class because of the close proximity to finals. Some libraries on campus start to transition to a 24-hour open schedule through finals week, so you can always count on a nice, quiet place to study. It’s nice because sometimes you can pick up some free food/drink while studying. My freshman year, the reps from Red Bull walked into the library with cases of their product and just put them right onto one of the open tables. People from all over the library descended upon the table and within a minute, all of it was gone. When I was studying for finals in the Potter Engineering Library junior year, I got some free coffee, donuts, and snacks that were regularly put out by the staff there.
It seems like the university gets quieter as things wind down and people are finishing up their classes or studying for their exams. Although no one is a big fan of having tests, they are the final gateway to the freedom of summer.