Prior to this year, students often traded time with loved ones and a steaming mug of hot chocolate for time with textbooks and Quizlet study guides over winter break.
This year the district has altered the final schedule so that the “Hell Week” of final exams falls before the holidays. This switch is the right call: finishing the 1st semester before the holidays will relieve student anxiety over the break.
The preparation for final exams is proven to be major source of stress for students, according to Georgetown University’s student health services. Such stress has a spectrum of health repercussions, such as chronic fatigue, back or neck pain, stomach problems, and skipping meals.
While final exams are bound to cause stress no matter their date, this year’s schedule has the potential to alleviate much of it.
I look forward to winter break, and I use it to recover from school and to spend time with my loved ones. Without the threat of finals consuming these 2 weeks, I know that I’ll be able to truly relax and enjoy the holidays.
Having winter break without the finals-induced-anxiety puts the “break” in “winter break” and gives students a chance to recuperate before the start of the 2nd semester.
However, this new gift to students does not come without someone else’s sacrifice. Teachers will be forced to work over their holiday break grading tests and wrapping up 1st semester grades alongside holiday gifts.
While I am in absolute agreement that teachers are deserving of a work-free, relaxing break, the students are often the ones who are suffering from feelings of sadness or depression caused by stress, often related to exams. Also, teachers have time to grade the exams during the week of finals, so their grading may not necessarily coincide with their breaks.
Although some say that the schedule change means that students will have less time to study for their final exams, as students have been able to utilize their free time over winter break for test preparations in previous years, we made up 1 of the lost weeks by starting school earlier this year. And, this means that students will have less time to procrastinate, so students will be motivated to sit down and study.
Overall, the new schedule is set to relieve students of their anxieties during the 2 weeks of break, giving them a much needed escape from the stresses of their academics and reenergizing them for the 2nd semester.