Dead Week: Expectations vs. reality

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Dead week: the week classes die down, or the week that kills students?

Each semester dead week is the final week of classes before final exams. At Kansas State, students and professors have different ideas regarding the meaning behind the words “dead week,” which took place last week.

Some students believe the term was taken literally, and the “dead” in dead week implies classes should not be held.

“The first time I heard about dead week I thought it was a week without classes,” Lucas Curran, a freshman in Communication Studies said, “But I feel like the school has policies about dead week, so although most people have class still, it should be a slower-pace than a usual school week.”

However, this view does not work for many professors, because dead week is important to the curriculum. Whether it is a week to have students turn in final projects or papers or a week to decompress and review, some professors see dead week as an important tool on their belt.

“When I set up my classes, I look at dead week and work backwards from there,” Barbara DeSanto, associate professor of public relations, said. “I don’t want to be cramming material into dead week because I know students will have projects and papers for other classes due, and I want to give them time.”

Classes that are planned with the intention of giving students time to study and work on other projects are typically the favorites of students. For some, it motivates them to work harder throughout the year, an intended result of the curriculum set up by these professors.

“I find that it is most effective to spread out projects and assignments throughout the semester rather than waiting until the end,” DeSanto said. “This way when we get to the end of the year we have pretty much finished our work, and there is not much pressure.”

Pressure is something many students feel during dead week, but for some it is a welcomed feeling.

“I know some kids say they work best under pressure,” DeSanto said. “But for some, pressure can break you. I’d rather not find out.”

While DeSanto’s approach is an effective and considerate one, it is not employed by all professors, according to students.

For others, dead week is the most dreaded week of the semester because of the pressure to complete projects and finish strong.

“Dead week, for most people, is the week professors play catch-up,” said Colby Moore, sophomore in public relations, “A lot of times teachers will have to catch up on the syllabus, maybe because of missed classes, and this creates a lot of late-semester assignments, papers and otherwise, that make the week extremely difficult for students to work through.”

Some students believe that dead week is always manageable.

“Regardless of what dead week means for you and your classes, it’s best to just be prepared,” said Moore, “You just have to put your head down and finish strong, and it will work out.”

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