Stress of finals taking effect

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Daniel Zietlow

Seniors Aaron Trelstad and Jacob Mumey prepare for finals in study hall the Monday before.

Daniel Zietlow, Sports editor

Finals: every students’ greatest fear. At the end of each semester, classes are supposed to give a final test, accounting for anywhere from 10% to 20% of a student’s grade, over the course’s curriculum. With such an important test, the stress on students is dramatically increased compared to normal tests and school work. 

Pleasant Valley’s schedule doesn’t help lower students stress levels. Students take a two week leave from school during winter break; after that, they only have one week to prepare for finals.  Darren Erickson Principle at Pleasant Valley explains how state law makes the rules for the schedule. “We used to start earlier in August and have finals before break but that is no longer possible due to the state regulated start date.” The state passed a law that no school could start before Aug. 23 making sure schools balance there finals and semester end date for after break.

Only having a week to remember all the information from the past 4 months results in students struggling with stress and anxiety. Senior Matthew Murphy believes that finals have made winter break worse for him. “Knowing that I’m coming back to almost a week of such important testing is really a dark cloud hanging over my head,” he said. Break is supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy time with family and friends, not to worry about the approaching tests. 

Students who don’t have finals are also required to show up. For some classes, students may have a final in the form of a project or paper that was due on an earlier date. However, these students are forced to show up at school and sit in their classroom for all 90 minutes. “I think I could benefit a lot more from studying on my own at my house or sleeping in after a late night of studying instead of sitting in a classroom.” Murphy continued.

The school originally had finals spanning two days but soon decided that it didn’t work well, choosing to  move to a three day final schedule. Erikson gave some reasons for the switch “It provides for more resource time, 1 on 1 with teachers and students and spreads out finals if they have to many in a day,” he said. All these decisions were made  to help students to de-stress and focus on one or two finals a day. 

Murphy thinks it did the opposite. 

“Adding more time for finals only makes them longer and worse,” Murphy concluded. By adding an extra day, finals take up over half the week back to back to back. This stress can lead to more sleep loss, anxiety and poor performance on the tests. 

As this years finals approach things won’t be any different. With multiple students planning on pulling some all nighters in preparation for the tests. Test taking will always put lots of stress on young students but finals will always be the worst considering the importance of them, the time of the year, and the amount of days they take.