By Christian McCarry Edited by Faith Mendelson
As the semester comes to an end, the work surely doesn’t. Finals week is on the horizon for students at Saint Joseph’s University, and it can be a very stressful time, especially for freshmen. To aid fearful freshmen encountering finals for the first time, we’ve gathered input from SJU’s upperclassmen about how to prepare for and survive the infamous finals week.
Before getting advice from upperclassmen, we spoke to freshmen about their fears concerning finals. The majority of freshmen shared a similar sentiment: they harbored concerns of balancing their mental health, while still reaching academic success during finals week.
Freshman Ella Olsen explained her fears. “As a first year, finals are definitely daunting to me. I think what concerns me most is keeping my anxiety in check, and making sure I’m checking in on myself and my mental health.”
Freshman Laura Haines echoed her concerns. “A major concern for me regarding finals and preparation is definitely studying tactics,” she continued, “…it can be overwhelming trying to focus on multiple classes at once.”
Freshman Joe Buch studies and prepares for finals week. Photo by Morgan Brennan.
SJU Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors are all too familiar with the anxiety and pressure that goes along with finals week. We spoke to upperclassmen who felt so inclined to take fearful freshmen under their wing and offer some valuable advice.
Sophomore Kevin Hoban advised freshmen to “take as many extra credit opportunities as you can…stay on top of work to get your average up.”
However, Hoban summarized his advice in two words: “Pace yourself.” He explained, “[Finals] are not the make or break point for your grades.” He advised against waiting until the last minute to study: “You shouldn’t stress yourself out by cramming everything the night before.”
Sophomore Steph Quivelli shared a similar sentiment: “Start preparing for exams early because they come up really quickly […] you’ll be grateful you started reviewing material early.” Quivelli said, “It’s only one exam, and it doesn’t always mean it’ll make or break your grade.”
Junior Sarah Myers said, “You can still have a very high overall GPA even if you finish a course or two with a B+.” However, she advised, “Study a lot but also remember to get sleep. Utilize the Writing Center and professors office hours […] it shows you care.”
Senior Asia Whittenberger also advises utilizing the Writing Center. She said, “Use the Writing Center for asynchronous writing-heavy finals […] no matter how great of a writer you think you are!” She also suggests finding a balance between studying hours and sleeping hours: “Finals week can be hard, but make sure you are getting your sleep. With that said, don’t procrastinate!”
Junior Abra Verzola spoke towards the mental health aspect: “Good grades and academic success are admirable and great, but grades aren’t everything and aren’t a sign of your worth.” Verzola said, “Be proud of yourself for making it here!”
Verzola also encouraged freshmen to seek guidance. “Talk to your professors; talk to your RA; talk to your friends and siblings and parents,” Verzola said, “You will be okay.”