Opinion: First Semester Finals Should be Before Christmas Break


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Jesuit students are set to take semester finals after Christmas break.

Christmas break has started and students are excited for the very much needed R&R. Some students are staying in enjoying the company of loved ones while others find a warmer place to spend the holiday break.

What could ruin this state of relaxation? How about students thinking about the finals that are due to come two weeks after the return to school?

Semester one finals have been after Christmas break for many years, but I have always found this to cause more stress during the two week break instead of giving students time to refresh after a tough first semester. 

Teachers are not allowed to give students homework over the break, but they still have to remind students that studying for finals would be wise over the holidays. 

However, students are left to make that decision on their own. And would we all like to do well on our finals? Of course. But would we also like to spend all the time we have away from school focusing on other parts of our lives? Yes!

Studying for finals can be exhausting. Some students will have six finals covering all of the first semester, which means a lot of material has to be reviewed if the student is hoping to do well. And although classes set aside a whole week after break (“Rep-and-Prep Week”) to go over as much content as possible, it isn’t always enough for the student to feel prepared. 

Are students taking all of this into consideration and studying for their finals? 

“I am going to study a little bit, but probably only for my math final since it’s the most challenging for me, otherwise no,” senior Nathan Pinto said. 

It can be incredibly difficult to step back from the holiday activities and time spent with your family and friends to study. 

“I’m planning on studying, but it’s hard because it’s my break and I don’t want to be doing school,” freshman Maeve Thomas said. 

Perhaps Jesuit should start the school year two or three weeks earlier to accommodate finals before Christmas break. This would prevent students from coming back from a two-week long break where school was not on the forefront of their minds and having to take multiple finals two weeks later. 

“I feel that when we have finals in January we only have a week to prepare for them after coming from a relaxing break,” Thomas said. “If we had finals before break we would already be in the school mindset to do them.” 

Jesuit could start school three weeks earlier in August to account for one last week of lessons, “Rep-and-Prep Week”, and finals week before Christmas break. These three weeks would come just before Jesuit’s Food Drive and the Mass of Anticipation week. 

The annual Food Drive would still happen and start at the same time as previous years with students collecting food and money for their first period classes. During “Rep-and-Prep Week” and finals week, students could continue bringing in their donations. 

An obvious downside of this schedule is beginning the school year so early in August, but maybe it’s worth it for a fully relaxing Christmas break. Furthermore, since the spring semester could start immediately after the winter holidays, summer wouldn’t be cut short because it would start earlier.

As a senior at Jesuit myself, I would have loved to have had semester one finals before Christmas break. Hopefully it can be a change future Jesuit students see.