In the past weeks, as “finals season” geared up for the last time this year, students everywhere succumbed to the stress that accompanies these infamous exams. Scrolling through my snapchat stories the night before my first final, several half-joked of tens of hours spent looking at a textbook, while others suggested the virtual flashcard set they had created for their classmates’ use in addition to their own. What struck me most was those who had posted something along the lines of “Finals tomorrow and I haven’t even started studying.”
There is an undeniable toxicity to the stress surrounding finals. Schools, whether it be for increased motivation or to simply scare kids into studying, market finals as an extremely difficult time of year in which a student’s life must be focused exclusively on their studies. Although these statements hold some truth, they are far from accurate. Yes, if a student wants to succeed on a final, they must study for several hours. But in the week leading up to finals, regular homework assignments taper off as teachers give students more time to study. However, a fallacy planted in student’s minds by the stressful culture surrounding finals is that final exams themselves are significantly more difficult than normal tests. In my experiences, this is not always true. While cumulative final exams cover more material, they do not go as in-depth on the topics in question. Thus, if you know the basics of the subjects you’re being tested on, you can score well on the final.
The main reason why the culture surrounding finals is detrimental to students’ success is that stress has been proven to cause procrastination. Instead of studying, students will take to social media and complain about how they haven’t studied or are going to fail, both of which are easily avoidable. Additionally, this procrastination and the time it consumes causes more stress. The increased stressed causes more procrastination, leading to a cycle that ends in students simply giving up in anticipation of summer.
Generation Edge’s tendency to procrastinate when tackling a substantial challenge, like finals, does not bode well for its future in the workplace. However, this culture can change if schools choose to alter the culture surrounding finals, and focus on the fact that final exams are an opportunity to reinforce knowledge and bolster grades, not to give up in the face of adversity.
- Written by Max Walker. Edited by Josh Miller.