Death by finals, a favorite time of year


A few days ago a friend came into class singing under her breath a Christmas carol — appropriate, given the season and also giving the feeling that winter does indeed exist (at least for a few days). Except, my friend was not singing a rendition of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” that I recognized.

After listening more closely I realized she was singing, “It’s the most terrible time of the year …” It did not take much prodding to get her to admit that her attitude was due to a common condition among college students this time of the year.

“I have a 20-page paper over Victorian literature due tomorrow, and a 20-minute presentation for lab, on top of 200 pages I should have read — but didn’t — due Thursday.” She concluded her list with another common statement among college students during this time: “Finals are literally going to kill me.”

She said this with the utter certainty and belief that finals kill in groups of 20. I sympathized with her. After weeks of class and far-off, safe deadlines, the due dates are now looming, threatening to be the end of our lives as students in the form of a failed grade or missed paper. Yet as I nodded in apparent agreement, I left out one minor detail I couldn’t admit to her: I love finals.

This is the most fantastic time of the year, when deadlines bear down and paper assignments pile up. The pressure and stress of procrastinating until the umpteenth hour is one of the few thrills that comes with academics. And I relish in the self-inflicted panic. Procrastination is a practiced art to students such as myself, and finals are our magnum opus. It’s the academic sprint that lets us show how well we have comprehended the material under the voluntary restraints of just … doing anything except what needs to be done.

Naturally though, there are limits to the thrill of procrastinating. Wait too long and you will crumple under the lack of time. And, as every good student knows, delayed gratification is the ticket to true and lasting success (which, coincidentally, is also an art form not mastered yet by most students, myself included). So this finals season, when friends are pronouncing their immanent death by finals. My response is to happily join them, and get to work.

Happy birthday Tuesday to Ashley Diane McCollum, Sherry Harris, Gail Wimberly, Wade Graves and Kevin Emery, all of Denison; David Gressett, Anastacia Cox, Jay Carson, Charlotte Holloway, Denise McLain and twins, Joyce Lyons Manning and Janet Lyons Miles and twins, Linda Rockins and Brenda Johnson, all of Sherman.

Happy anniversary Tuesday to Aubrey and Gayla Henderson of Sherman, 45 years.