Students discuss the agony and ecstasy of finals

Robin Huiras

Silence penetrated the auditorium air, the minute hand’s tick-tock the only indicator of time and the existence of an outside world.
Tis the atmosphere of a final. Students furiously scribbling answers to questions that only moments before existed at the fronts of their brains.
Some come into this environment completely prepared, ready to be done with the course, confidence oozing from their pores. Others do not.
Angela Marani, a freshman majoring in accounting, shakes with nervousness and anticipation.
“I am so not prepared for this test,” Marani said. “I studied for close to 12 hours, but I am still not ready.”
Lack of preparation seems a common trend among the students present for this exam. Facial expressions convey their feelings. Furrowed brows, tense mouths or even the facade of a smile cannot disguise their anxiety.
“I studied last night for about five minutes, but I’m not too worried,” said Mike Lady, an undecided sophomore. “I’m not worried because I know I can sit next to Angela.”
Receiving a grade, passing a class and graduating inspire the students to position themselves in a place of such high pressure.
Sarah, who refused to divulge her last name for fear of classmates considering her an extremist, said she’s been studying nonstop for three days.
“It’s definitely my own fault for not being prepared,” added the French graduate student. “I’m overwhelmed by all of the material.”
The preparation finished, students find seats with careful decisiveness. Every other seat occupied, tension grips the air.
The professor deliberates on which side of the room to begin the exam hand-out phase. Tick-tock chimes the clock.
It has begun. The questions vary from material covered only four days prior to vague definitions taught at the beginning of the quarter.
Some squirm, others gaze into space though glassy eyes — thinking possibly of vacation, a cold beer or sleep, something so taken for granted a few short weeks ago.
“I haven’t slept much lately — the three hours last night were more than the night before,” Marani said. “I’m exhausted and will be so relieved when this thing is over.”
After an hour students begin filing out of the auditorium. Their faces express passive thoughts, complete and utter alleviation. The stress lines vanish, smiles resurface and some even brave a chuckle.
Learning whether all of the studying or lack thereof paid off will be apparent in about two weeks, but for now it doesn’t matter.
“I am so glad that is over,” Sarah said. “That was the last of my three exams and it feels good.”
A shared response, the nods of others affirm her position. With a renewed spirit, the students exit the building, more than ready to be done — until next quarter, that is.