STAFF EDITORIAL: Surviving Finals Week Needs More Than ‘Self-care’

Maia Luem | The PhoenixSome students said they use Loyola's libraries for studying more than they use them to check out materials.

For the first time in two years, in-person finals are back next week at Loyola. For some, that means cramming in the Loyola Information Commons at ungodly hours — a practice enabled by the building’s temporary return to 24-hour operations. 

Life at Loyola appears to have returned to some semblance of “normal,” but this aspect is something that should’ve been left in the past. With a 20% surge in usage of Wellness Center mental health services, there’s no denial the pandemic has added an extra strain to the already tenuous relationship students have with their mental wellbeing. 

A return to the finals of pre-COVID Loyola isn’t helping. Especially with some professors running classes as if students — and themselves — were still stuck in the throes of the pandemic as it stretches into its second year. 

Finals at Loyola can take many shapes, but many of them appear to induce panic rather than effectively evaluate students’ knowledge of the class material.

It’s time professors got with the times and retired the traditional final. Some professors at Loyola have dumped them already in place of an “unessay” — similar to a final project, but with looser guidelines. 

Students are able to choose any topic (relevant to the class) and present it in any manner or medium. Criteria for grading differs with every professor, but the “unessay” places a focus on the creativity of the student rather than how well they can meet the mold of predetermined criteria. 

It’s moves like these that offer a glimmer of hope — but students deserve so much more support from professors, and the school itself, than is currently given. 

COVID-19 should have taught the university a thing or two. The world is a mess, our lives are unpredictable day-to-day and “de-stress” events in Damen can’t undo a semester of stress that could have easily been avoided. 

The pandemic has caused trauma for millions upon millions in the world. For students at Loyola, it meant uprooting our lives and moving home. It meant worrying for loved ones. Many lost loved ones. And that constant worry has yet to fade as cases continue to rise throughout Chicago, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health. 

With or without college, we are stressed out — and rightfully so. With it, some of us are drowning.

Students have had 15 weeks of strenuous work. A final does little to prove a student’s knowledge of the subject. And stressing people out just to stress them out seems vapid in this age.

The world has changed — let’s change with it. Professors, how free would it be for you to enjoy the break without grading an exam? This is a win-win idea. Students need a break, and maybe you do too. 

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