Moritz's Blog

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Here's to Finals

Every so often, I come across a gem in my writing class. The assignment for their final exam was to write a tribute to anyone or anything. I found this one worth sharing.

Here’s to finals. Finals are the one time of the year when everyone is happy to be a high school student. The student body is sleep deprived, stressed out, and overwhelmed. There is nothing quite like the look on the students’ faces when they realize that they are immensely underprepared for their final. Here’s to finals, the late nights, the hours of endless studying, the hour long waits at Starbucks, and the pressure. Students tense up in anxiety for the moment. Teachers laughing, repeatedly saying, “It’s not that hard”. And then the final is handed out.

I personally love finals. Nothing excites me more than one single high stakes test at the end of a semester worth twenty percent of my grade. Finals’ week is my single favorite week of the entire semester. Sure, some people may complain about how hard or unfair a final is, but nope, I think they are the greatest and fairest thing around. My personal thoughts about a teacher and his/her assignments is that the teacher should put in as much effort grading a test as it takes to take it. Therefore, when a teacher gives one hundred twenty students a one hundred thirty five question Scantron test over the course of 80 minutes per test, it seems only fair that the teacher can put it through a grading machine that takes all of ten seconds per test. That’s pretty close in amount of work output, so it is only fair to assume that these finals are fair.

Another characteristic that I adore about finals and finals’ week is how much they are over-stressed. Teachers constantly overstress the importance of a final. All a student hears is, “It makes sure you learned the key information”, “I want this information reinforced in your brain”, and “This final is only twenty percent of your grade”. Sure, I understand the concept behind a final, which is to reinforce key concepts and drill on the essential learning. What I really like about the idea behind a final is that a student can prove that he/she is able to teach themselves an entire semester’s worth of information in one night. These finals are nothing to be stressed over. Twenty percent of one’s grade is not that much. Do the math, if I get an eighty five percent on my final, then my grade will go down to a, uh… oh that’s not good. Ok, so maybe twenty percent is a small part of one’s grade, or actually a significant chunk of one’s grade, but high school students are able to handle it, right?

Here’s to finals and the no stress period these tests offer students. Students never lose any sleep over finals. They are not constantly stressing over what a disastrous final could do their grades, which allows them to sleep easier. In fact, students get even more sleep during finals week than they do in the summer, and they sleep better. Take a look at Starbucks. All the students there are celebrating with coffee. No, they aren’t using the caffeine in the coffee to wake up as they will crash in three hours, so they all ordered decaffeinated coffee. These students weren’t so stressed out that they couldn’t fall asleep because they hadn’t finished studying, and now they aren’t drinking caffeinated coffee because they don’t need it. And when a teacher tries to make it up to them by offering them donuts, all they can manage is a yawn. No, we didn’t yawn because we were tired, we were just bored.

Here’s to finals: the stress, the sleep deprivation, the endless studying, Starbucks, and of course, the realization that I really don’t care how I do on my Thursday final. I salute you, final, for all the work you do for us. You’re like an iceberg in the ocean, massive, looming, and waiting to sink our ships, especially when we almost made it to the harbor. So, final, keep up the good work, and please, please be easy.

Matthew F.