Finals: Contributing to college burnout

Olivia Jacobs

More than 40 percent of college students experience above average levels of stress, according to the National College Health Assessment. 

With the end of the fall semester fast approaching, students are becoming more burnt out by the minute. 

Burnout is defined as not just a result of working a long period of time, but rather a state of emotional, mental and often physical exhaustion brought on by continued and or repeated stress according to Psychology Today. 

One of the main problems is the amount of pressure that is placed on students around this time of year because it is in no way helpful in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

By this time of year, I’m mostly referring to the combination of finishing term papers, projects and finals week.

Finals, however, are not actually an accurate representation of the amount of work expected in a work environment. 

For example, having projects spread over a long period of time or working with multiple members on a team who specialize in particular areas of knowledge. 

In senior seminars, independent studies and other upper-level courses the work is produced over the course of a whole semester creating an environment more similar to an actual workplace. 

Finals really aren’t necessary, in my opinion. 

Particularly, comprehensive finals are excessive because they require students to remember random information and facts that were given to them at the beginning of the year. 

Simply regurgitating facts onto a page is not a fair assessment of student performance either and does not leave a lasting impression on the education of students as most typically forget the information shortly after they get out of class. 

“The end-of-semester exams require too much effort for absolutely no reward-they don’t set you up for the real world, and you forget all the information you spend weeks cramming for anyway,” said researcher from Rice University, Phil Hedayatnia. 

It’s also frustrating because end-of-the-year tests usually make up 30% of your total grade for the semester. 

But if you have a one-off week or happen to get sick then it could potentially ruin the rest of the hard work and effort you’ve put in the rest of the time. 

 “Simply regurgitating facts onto a page is not a fair assessment of student performance either and does not leave a lasting impression on the education of students as most typically forget the information shortly after they get out of class. ”

But what’s even more concerning is that we as students are expected to come back from Thanksgiving break which is really only three days that provides us with a very brief period of relaxation only for us to be put back into an overwhelming state that finals week instills in all of us.

“Anxiety and depression rates have been rising, according to a study, which found three out of every four college students reporting at least one stressful life event within the past year-involving everything from social relationships to personal appearance to problems with family. Twenty percent said they experienced greater than five stressful life events within that same time frame” according to ABC News. 

So, if universities understand the rates of anxiety and depression present in their student populations then why add more stress with finals? 

Even if you go to Counseling and Consultation Services to learn how to cope with stress there isn’t enough time to properly apply techniques considering that end of the year projects, finals and papers force you to spend hours on end in the library. 

Continuation of this outdated concept of finals is not healthy or practical in the long-run. 

Perhaps instead of forcing professors to give finals, allow them instead to fill the exam time period with a meaningful experience for their classes.