A Freshman’s First Finals

Navigating the Infamous Week for the First Time

Finals. An image of students sitting at desks flipping through packets filled with the concepts from the year comes to mind.  Parker finals is a completely new experience for the freshmen class. A week filled with snaps and posts captions “FinaLs” or with other various puns involving the failure of finals which isn’t truly the reality for most students. Every year the buzz around the week grows. Some people count down the days with dread, and some have less anxiety surrounding the week. I’ve even heard some people say they enjoy it because of the shortened days and week all together. Personally the idea of finals stresses me out, but it is also comforting the amount of guidance Parker gives and I feel as though we started talking about it with lots of time before.

 My classmates and friends have been anticipating the stress of finals throughout middle school. Finals. A right of passage all 4 years of highschool. A week 3 days in length with only 2 classes per day––sounds as if we should all look forward to it––right? However, this short week holds a lot. With projects and tests worth large percentages of your grade, the week holds significance. Each two hour period entails a great amount of preparation. Hours upon hours for some, and less for others. 

The range of difficulty depending on the subject, level of class, and teacher seem to range across a high spectrum. My finals this year include two tests, two presentations, and one project. The tests hold more stress for me. Partially because a test is the normalized idea of a final, and partially because of the subjects the tests are for. Math and science classes across levels have a test as their finals. I have them on separate days, but many others do not. The remainder of my finals are left as project based, and the two presentations involve a form of role play. In English I am memorizing and dramatically reciting a poem, and for history I am doing a research based role play only on our current unit.  My only personal experience with finals was a seemingly normal test at the end of 8th grade labeled a “final” administered in math. This brought an onset of stress, that has only accumulated and grown this year. 

Every year prior I was told more and more about it. My only personal experience with finals was a seemingly normal test at the end of 8th grade labeled a “final” administered in math. This brought an onset of stress, that has only accumulated and grown this year. Upperclassmen talk about times when they’ve done bad, well and everything in between. It seems to reflect more stress about the week than any other feeling. 

This week is high stakes for many, and in the majority of my classes the final is worth around 15 to 20 percent of my grade. This adds to the pressure in a way it never has, as I am only accustomed to the ease and lower pressure ways grades worked throughout middle school, where simply participating more and having a good attitude to could bring your grade up. These finals are nothing like the tests and projects ive been accustomed to in the past. Their levels of preparation required have greatly increased as well. This goes without saying that highschool is more challenging than middle school and this without a doubt applies to my finals. 

The information is overwhelming, especially when there isn’t anything to compare it with. I look forward to not only getting it over with, but also being able to compare my personal experience to the well talked about the experience of many others. This infamous week is coming up sooner with each day, and I along with my class have been receiving more and more information. Some that brings more dread, but also some that includes helpful tips and guidance. 

Finals week is nearly over. I sit writing this before my health final in which we will be making glitter jars and discussing the year. The only part that’s mandatory is showing up. Looking back on my week, yes, there were stressful moments. However, all in all, it wasn’t too bad. I spent my weekend before studying and for me, I think and hope it paid off. It made me feel prepared and not having the need to cram the night before. Finals that were tests were easily the hardest, and projects were the most fun. I enjoyed the range of formats my finals came in, and it was interesting how much more stressful I perceived the tests rather than the projects. Although I am relieved it’s over there were also parts I liked such as the late starts and long breaks between final periods. Another big highlight is not having any work for the long weekend ahead.