Perspectives on Post-Break Finals

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Jesuit students anticipate stress over winter break as finals will occur one week after students return.

The return to finals after almost two years of COVID learning has sparked discussion on the timing of exams. Some students find that exams occurring right after winter break are difficult, while others use break as an opportunity to study.

For Jesuit, exams are occurring January 10-13 and will have two exams per day. 

Having exams one week after the return to school gives students the time to study over break, even though many teachers don’t advise students to study. 

For the Jesuit community, the food drive creates a busy atmosphere in December, one that may not be conducive to finals before break, notes Spanish teacher Melanie McManamon

“I understand that we have the food drive and that could affect when we have finals week, and the food drive is super important,” McManamon said. “But preferably, I think it would be better for students to have finals before Christmas break.”

Keeping students’ brains active during break can prevent loss of information. Students lose 17-34% of the year’s learning over summer break(NWEA), and similar loss can be prevented by studying over winter break. 

Additionally, students may miss out on family time by studying and may not get their much needed relaxation over the holiday break. For sophomore Reese Griffith, finals looming over break adds a level of stress over the holidays.

“The whole point of Christmas break is to spend time with family and be able to enjoy the holiday season,” Griffith said. “With finals right after, it blatantly disrupts time with family.For me, every second I spend with my family, there will be an underlying stress about what I should be doing to prepare.”

Many students feel that having exams before winter break would allow the information to be fresher in their minds. Learning loss occurs for some students over winter break and students like junior Tessa Curl feel like they have to prepare even when teachers say not to. 

“Teachers say that we don’t have to study over break, but then we get behind if we don’t,” Curl said. 

Junior Sean Moore finds the transition from break to finals week jarring. 

 “It’s really stressful because you have a two week break and then you come back, and the week after you have finals,” Moore said.  

Only current juniors and seniors have experienced finals, and for sophomores and freshmen, this stress about finals is amplified.