As students prepare for finals, stress, graduation uncertainty accompany them

While some students choose to study weeks ahead, others find it better to study right before exams to keep the information fresh in their mind. (Archive photo by Dalton Wainscott I Collegian Media Group)

Like many Kansas State students, Jessica Shriver, junior in communication studies, will take all of her semester final exams in front of a computer screen and outside the classroom.

“I think [the exams are] easier when they’re online,” Shriver said. “I can take them in the comfort of my own house and feel more relaxed.”

However, Joel Jirak, senior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology, is enrolled in 24 credit hours this semester and said he has a busy week of essays and exams coming up.

“I believe that my finals are harder this year because I have so many to study for and many of them are essays and not a standard test format,” Jirak said.

Steven Parker, freshman in supply chain management, does not know what a typical finals week looks like on campus, and he’s not alone. Most freshmen, along with many transfer students, haven’t experienced in-person finals since starting at K-State.

“Since this is my first year in college, I’m not too sure what actual finals look like due to COVID putting everything online,” Parker said. “But I would say it’s easier than my high school finals.”

While some students choose to study weeks ahead, others find it better to study right before exams to keep the information fresh in their mind. Jirak said he finds it beneficial to study for each individual exam the day before he takes them.

Every student chooses their own way to study for finals, and this virtual year has allowed students to review lecture slides and other content on Canvas and Zoom.

“I’m preparing for finals by rewatching the Zooms that my professors have posted online and by going over notes we took over Zoom,” Parker said.

Similarly, Jirak is using his professors’ resources to review the course and chapter information for his final exams.

Shriver said there is not as much need to prepare for finals as there was in the past, noticing a decrease in school motivation this semester. However, as the semester comes to a close and with summer fast approaching, she said the motivation to finish is coming back.

“I haven’t done nearly as much preparing for finals as I normally would have in past semesters,” Shriver said. “I remember how close we are to summer, and that is kind of motivating in itself.”

Parker said he decided to get a head start studying to help decrease the stress leading up to his exams. Since Jirak is a senior, he said he is more motivated to study and do well on his upcoming finals to ensure his graduation.

“I do feel like I need to study harder, as I want to graduate and be done with school and especially since I have 24 hours this semester, studying is going to be crucial,” Jirak said.