Mourning the Death of Dead Week

(Pictured: Abby Klonsinski, illustrated by Abby Klonsinski)

Students scrambling and stressing over last-minute assignments and exams during the final week of school has me wondering: Where’s my dead week?

Dead Week is a typical event for many universities across the nation, ranging from a few days to the entire week before final exams. Characterized by a cancellation of classes, Dead Week is a time for students and professors alike to complete their semester assignments and prepare for finals.   

Often, expanded library times and required 24-hour quiet hours in residence halls accompany the termination of all assignments, allowing students to focus solely on their upcoming exams. The extra time allows students to (hopefully) avoid all-nighters, overdoses of caffeine and nervous breakdowns.

Professors also relish in this extra downtime before exam week chaos, as this allows them to finally catch up on the grading they’ve been meaning to get done. The break from teaching allows professors to enter grades and meet with anyone concerned about information about the course.

Unfortunately, not every school enacts this policy. Unluckily for us, Montana State University falls under that category.  

Instead of giving students and staff even a couple days off to prepare for final exams, MSU requires a full week of pure academia. Exams, papers, assignments and classes continue to be required the final week of school, giving students only two days — also known as ‘the weekend’ — to review a semester’s worth of information before they are brutally tested on it.

Students are unable to focus on the upcoming final exams because they still have quizzes and tests just days before. Too many professors assign tests the Friday before finals and expect students to have mastered that information — on top of all the other info they are expected to know — well enough to take a cumulative exam only days later. These professors disregard the fact that students will have no idea what topics they missed on Friday’s test, meaning they’re likely to make the same mistakes on their final exam.

Not only do students suffer both mentally and academically, but professors struggle to engage their classes, too. “It’s the night of the living dead around here,” said an unnamed professor, who then mimicked with stiff arms the movements of how zombie-students shuffle around campus.

But, students aren’t zombies. Or, at least they aren’t supposed to be. Final exams are stressful enough without last-minute assignments and tests being piled on a nearly unbearable load.

Giving students just two extra days before the weekend of finals would decrease the anxiety and strain they experience, allowing them to truly focus on learning their material and going into the last week of the semester feeling confident. So, let’s resurrect Dead Week and save the zombie-like attitudes for the movies.