Editorial: Fed Up With Finals

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The schedule for finals at Montclair State might cause more problems than it solves. Illustration by Dan Evans
The schedule for finals at Montclair State might cause more problems than it solves.
Illustration by Dan Evans

Montclair State works very hard to ensure finals week is as stress-free as possible for students. The Health Promotion Center provide de-stressing events every few hours, but changing the finals schedule would be the best way to alleviate students of their stress as finals approach.

Year after year, students struggle to understand the complex and problematic finals schedule put forth by the university. Even juniors and seniors, who feel like they have finally gained a full understanding of the schedule, are often caught off guard by its precarious nature.

The finals schedule even acknowledges its flaws. One of the most common problems faced by students across campus is overlapping finals. For example, on Monday, Dec. 19, classes with their first or only meeting on Monday or Thursday at 8:30 a.m. will have their final exam from 8 to 10 a.m. While this will work for someone who has one class that meets on Mondays and Thursdays at 8:30 a.m., it will not work for students who have one class that meets on Monday at 8:30 a.m. and another that meets on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m.

In this case, the final exam schedule suggests students “should immediately notify each faculty member involved and make arrangements to reschedule one of the exams.”

Even though this complex predicament may not affect everyone, it affects enough students and professors that the university makes note of it on the official final examination schedule. This has become a burden to students and professors alike who now have to create a solution to an unnecessary problem. In order to solve this problem, professors must take time out of their day, time which becomes extremely valuable as finals approach. Students should be concerned with achieving the best they can in their courses, and professors should be concerned with ensuring students can achieve their best, but the current state of the finals schedule prevents everyone from doing so.

Many freshmen, who will be navigating the finals schedule for the first time, may find themselves too late or far too early for a final. A student who has a class that begins at 8:30 a.m. on Mondays may find themselves out of luck when they are locked out the classroom. Finals for 8:30 a.m. classes begin at 8 a.m. This can be very unexpected for students who have followed a structured schedule, between work, school and other activities, for the last 14 weeks and must make major adjustments to take their final exams. It’s even more of a surprise for new students, who may have never been made aware that a different schedule existed for finals week.

Lastly, the schedule that features classes starting and ending at different times can be extremely inconvenient for students who work. For example, classes that start at 1 p.m. will have a final examination period from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Classes that start at 1 p.m. usually end at 2:15 p.m., which is three hours earlier than when students will get out of their finals. This disrupts many students work schedules and once again adds to their already mounting stress.

While Montclair State offers free food to students and brings fluffy creatures to the quad for them to play with, the easiest way to relieve their stress would be to rework the finals schedule. Students spend 14 weeks following a set schedule, and changing it up during the most stressful week helps no one.

All of this stress only ensures that students will have two hours for their examination period, however, few professors utilize the entire time period and many students end up leaving early.

Puppies, ponies and free snacks are nice, but getting to the root of the problem would leave students feeling a lot more relaxed.

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