With yet another class of seniors ready to be on their way to post-college life, the only thing standing between them and their diploma is one last finals week.
After at least seven semesters of finals, many of these upperclassmen have acquired a long list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to a successful bout of exams. From studying tips to stress relievers, K-State seniors offer their best advice for those who are still discovering the ins and outs of finals week.
Joey Boos, senior in theater, has learned a thing or two when it comes to handling stress during final exams throughout his four years.
“I get stressed out very easily, so I need to take quite a few study breaks,” Boos said. “I’m a very social person, so the best thing for me is just going to hang out with friends. Sometimes, watching a little bit of Netflix or even just belting out a song in my room can help relax me.”
Boos’ biggest piece of advice for underclassmen as they prepare for finals is time management.
“I would say stay organized,” Boos said. “I know for me, that was one thing I struggled with, especially starting out. Between classes and work and extracurricular activities, it helps to find a good amount of time every day that works in your schedule so you can just sit and work on all the stuff that needs to get done.”
Boos added that one of his favorite tricks is studying in the library, as it’s full of quiet space and resources to help students be more efficient.
When it comes to taking finals as the be-all and end-all of one’s academic career, Boos said it’s not worth getting too worked up.
“Finals aren’t all that important, especially in the long run,” he said. “But, I also think it depends on the class. For some classes, it’s important to have a final to wrap everything up, but I think for a lot of classes, the final is just there to have a final.”
Boos said he is experiencing mixed emotions as he approaches his final finals week.
“I have days where I’m super excited to graduate, and I have days where I get really sad about leaving K-State and Manhattan,” he said. “I’m definitely going to miss this place.”
As she prepares to enter medical school in the fall, Jeanette LaFreniere, senior in biology, said she is more than ready for her last undergraduate finals week.
“I’m kind of excited, because I know this is going to be way easier than medical school,” LaFreniere said. “I’m also really excited to not have a Friday final ever again, because I’ve had one every semester since I started college.”
Thanks to her extensive courses in science, LaFreniere said she has learned to manage her finals week through careful planning of study time.
“Look at your week and put together a plan of what finals you need to study for on which days,” she said. “A lot of times, you can wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to start studying for a Friday final.”
LaFreniere said she experienced her most stressful finals week spring semester of her sophomore year as she was preparing to study abroad for the summer.
“I was trying to prepare to go to Spain, and I had four finals that week,” she said. “I started getting stressed, but then I realized I could use my study breaks to look at where I was going to be in Spain, which helped me forget about finals for a little bit.”
LaFreniere also recommends taking walks with friends or participating in on-campus events to help destress during exams.
Contrary to Boos, LaFreniere said she feels finals are a very important element of academics.
“Finals very much matter,” she said. “They can make or break your grades. Especially when you’re pursuing something like a medical degree, grades are going to be a large part of what gets you there.”
“My biggest piece of advice is to make your study guides early,” Tyler Johnson, senior in marketing, said. “A lot of students reserve time to study, but then they’re making their study guides during that time, so they’re sort of working on something they could have done ahead of time because they already had that material.”
Throughout his college experience, Johnson has had many stressful finals weeks, but maintains that his most difficult test was his final exam for Finance 450.
“I thought it was going to be the absolute end of my existence,” he said. “It’s funny, because I was doing well in the class, but for some reason I was like, ‘Am I going to come out of this alive?’ But, I did the proper amount of preparation and studied for about three or four hours per day the five days leading up to the test, and I got an A.”
As far as whether or not finals really matter, Johnson said it’s most important to keep your overall performance in the class in mind.
“They matter if you’re someone who only cares about your grade,” Johnson said. “I think it’s important not to let your performance on the final determine the value of what you learned in the class. It sounds cliche, but I really like learning. So if the grade doesn’t reflect that to a tee, it doesn’t mean you weren’t successful.”
As he prepares to wrap up his college career, Johnson said it feels good to know he’s almost completely done with finals.
“It feels like it’s a cool accomplishment,” Johnson said. “I survived several finals weeks during college, and I had no clue what I was getting myself into from the beginning. But I learned a lot along the way. Getting through finals week is one of those ‘hoorah’ moments where you kind of pat yourself on the back and you’re like, ‘That was awful, but I did it.'”