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Perusing Parks: Students share finals praises and criticisms

Katlyn Campbell/Iowa State Daily
With finals fast approaching students spend dead week at Parks Library on Dec. 4. Parks Library will be open 24/7 until Dec. 14 to accommodate students as the semester comes to a close.

Whether it is a studying superstition or a professor who assigns new homework during prep week, students have opinions on how finals week is handled. The Daily perused Parks Library to pick the minds of students during the last two weeks of the fall semester.

Lectures and the introduction of new content is expected to continue during prep week, according to the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost. Assignments due during prep week must be indicated in the syllabus, though. 

Jacob Garcia, a junior in kinesiology, said professors should focus on preparation for finals rather than introducing content during prep week. 

“Dead week should ideally be a time to prep for finals, but usually I feel like there’s always new content, or each professor kind of thinks they’re the only ones assigning an assignment but then that happens to be every other professor thinking they’re the only one,” Garcia said. “So then it ends up being every professor’s assigning something during dead week or new content.”

Garcia said the week before finals should be for exam review.

“I just prefer nothing during dead week, ideally, maybe other than pure exam review,” Garcia said. “I mean why are you giving me less than a week to prepare for this final and giving me new content now?”

Reagan Purvis, a sophomore in history and secondary education, said many of her professors do not manage classes differently during prep week. 

“My teachers have just treated it like any other week, like they haven’t really prepared us for finals,” Purvis said. “They’re like just ‘review and you’re fine’ and then they just continue with normal class work, it’s nothing less and it’s nothing more, it’s just the usual.”

Chloe Hillary, a sophomore in marketing and finance, said she has had more pleasant experiences during prep week, including a professor who gave candy to students and some professors who offered extra credit during prep week. 

“I’ve had a lot of professors that have canceled class during dead week just to give us extra time to prepare,” Hillary said. “Otherwise, one of my professors brought us all candy for our last class of the year, so I think that was very nice, not that it really helped us with preparation, but just showed that they cared enough about their class.”

Liam Noonan, a sophomore in business undeclared, suggested more mental health awareness during the last couple weeks of the semester. He suggested advertising and talking more about mental health during prep week and finals week.

“Cause you gotta balance both of them,” Noonan said. “It’s a stressful time, you just gotta kind of grind through it, but focus on your wellbeing at the same time, make sure it’s up to date.”

John Roth, a sophomore in finance and international studies also said prep week should have less homework and more focus on studying for exams. 

Several students interviewed said professors who make grades visible and ready as soon as possible have helped reduce the stress of finals week, to understand how to best prepare for final exams and projects.

Additionally, there were several iterations of students advocating for professors to help prepare study materials for finals week. 

Roth commended his finance professor, who not only creates a study guide, but creates a video lecture walking through the study guide and suggests what to include on the “cheat sheet” for the exam. 

Hillary advocated, multiple times, for Kahoot! in class during prep week as a study tactic. 

Parks Library is hosting Barks@Parks during prep week. The university also offers mental health resources listed on the student health and wellness website

Uncommon practices

Hillary had two superstitions for finals.

“I always drink an energy drink before a test, I feel like it makes me more focused, it makes me awake and I feel so much more focused,” Hillary said.

Hillary also said she always uses the same testing center, in fear of failing a test. 

“I always use the same testing center, Gilman… I have this theory that if you switch up your testing center you’re going to do worse on your test,” Hillary said.

Roth said he has to study in his room, because his room is where he relaxes, where Noonan said he must be in a comfortable seat to study, and that he rarely comes to the library to study. 

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