| 03.17.2018

Dead week stress


UI must enforce its own policy, reduce dead week stress

As many University of Idaho students found out in the past few days, dead week is often the hardest week of the semester. Classes continue, final projects are due and an alarming amount of professors schedule finals on dead week — with or without student approval.

Ryan Tarinelli

Ryan Tarinelli

That last part is particularly important, considering it’s against UI policy to give quizzes or exams during dead week in the majority of lecture courses. At UI, this policy seems to be disregarded or ignored at the expense of students.

In the traditional sense, dead week served as a period for students to study and prepare for final exams without worrying about other academic responsibilities. Although UI’s policy does not match this traditional definition, the intention seems to be the same: students should have a reasonable amount of time to prepare for final exams.

Dead week at UI is anything but that.

The rescheduling of final exams from finals week to dead week causes an unnecessary amount of stress on students. Work that was once spaced out between two weeks is now compacted into one.

Students are still required to attend the majority of classes — a task that can eat up valuable time students could use to complete a final project or continue studying for other exams. Due to the slow start of courses, some professors are known to cram exam material into the last few weeks of the semester, causing further stress on students.

Many professors also schedule grade-altering final projects on dead week, such as a final research paper or a semester-long group project.

With regular classes and final projects due on dead week, the workload is tough, but it’s possible. It’s strenuous, but not unreasonable to ask of a college student.

But, add one, two or possibly three finals on dead week and it’s an urgent scenario.

Granted, college students are not known for being the healthiest creatures at the end of the semester, but the movement of final exams to dead week is sure to cause an increase in sleep deprivation, grogginess and stress on campus. Most of which could be prevented if final exams were put back in their rightful place on finals week.

Yes, it is a drag to wait around all week for a Friday morning exam, but it also provides students with necessary study time.

That said, exceptions within the dead week policy should be considered. For example, it would make sense for a class full of graduating seniors to want to take an exam early and rid themselves of all academic responsibilities before walking across the graduation stage. In this case, the decision to move a final should be put up to a vote among the students in the class.

It’s not clear why there was a popular shift of exams from finals week to dead week by professors. Perhaps faculty wanted more time to grade or maybe professors wanted to relieve students of another burden going into a busy finals week.

Regardless, one thing is clear — professors care about their students. They care about their student’s grades and they care about their mental stability. And if students have a need to change the system as it is, they should start communicating to their professors that dead week could use some improvements.

If not, students can expect many future dead weeks like this.

Ryan Tarinelli can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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