Centre community bands together to support students during finals week
Finals week is known around campus as one of the most stressful times of the year—students are feverishly completing papers, projects and presentations while studying for exams, attending classes and wrapping up extracurricular and athletic commitments for the semester. Luckily for students, an army of people comes together from across campus to help students survive one of the toughest weeks of the academic year.
The Sunday before finals week, December 8th, the Student Activities Council (SAC) will host a study-breaker in the Crounse lobby, where hot chocolate and good-luck wishes will be given out to students starting at 8:30 p.m.
Every morning during finals week, the Centre Parents Committee will have “breakfast stations” in key academic buildings from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., when Parent Committee members and local Centre parents serve baked goods and coffee to students.
“We’ve found over the years that we’re a welcome sight for the students who pulled the all-nighters and didn’t take time to go to Cowan,” Director of Parent Programs Mona Wyatt says. “I’ve heard many students exclaim that this is a favorite part of finals—just seeing the parent support and concern and having someone to wish them luck on their way in. I love doing it, and so do our other parent volunteers.”
Wednesday, when student energy and motivation may be flagging, the Student Life Office hosts a finals study-breaker breakfast at 9 p.m. in Cowan (right). The hallmark of the event is the bevy of Centre faculty and staff who serve up heaping helpings of food, drink and encouragement.
Students can expect to see a number of professors, including Beau Weston, Preston Miles and Eva Cadavid, as well as brand-new faculty members Kari Young, Abbie Yamamoto, Danielle LaLonde and Jason Doroga. Participating staff members include Kathy Miles, Matt Klooster, Brad Fields, Carrie Frey and Ann Young.
In addition to free breakfast, the evening includes five-minute mini-massages by staff from the local Lily Manor Day Spa, and Christmas caroling by Common Time, the campus a cappella group.
Student Life Coordinator Elizabeth Frank ’13 has fond memories of the events she is now helping plan.
“As a student, I loved being able to chat with professors as they served me some breakfast or chocolate milk,” she recalls. “It made the stress of finals disappear a little bit. It’s such a festive time of year, and even though everyone is tired, faculty, staff and students are always smiling and laughing at the late-night breakfast.
“It’s important to take time to have a mental break, to take time to breathe and laugh. And eat,” she adds.
Student Life Coordinator Sara Muren ’12 echoes Frank’s statements, seeing these types of activities as crucial for helping students cope with end of term stress.
“As a recent graduate, I vividly remember the long nights in the library and the hours poured into papers and study guides,” she says. “Even though the work-load was tough, finals week was one of my favorite times of the year at Centre, and I think that’s in no small part due to the ‘extras’ like the late-night breakfast.
“These events are a good way to bring students out of their study cubicles and away from their desks,” she continues, “to take a breather, laugh and see that they’re not alone. Not only are all their peers right there with them in the thick of studying but their faculty and staff are also encouraging and rooting for them all the way to the end of the semester.”
Faculty and staff also help students get into the holiday spirit with a campus-wide carol that visits residence halls, academic buildings and the Campus Center.
Stodghill Professor of Music Barbara Hall has participated in the campus tradition for over 30 years and finds it a welcome break from the end of term frenzy.
“We walk, we freeze or get soaked, we sing in tune, out of tune, too fast, too low and occasionally so beautifully,” Hall said in a previous Centre web story. “And the rewards are smiles, laughs, disbelieving looks, hearty holiday wishes and even sometimes applause from our students.”
And for those students who are stuck with the end of week afternoon final, the Parents Program has one last treat.
“We put out big bowls of candy for those students,” says Wyatt. “The bowls have a note saying ‘we’re sorry you had the last final! Happy Holidays!'”
By Mariel Smith