Finals week is a strange time on the Whitman campus. In a way it seems like time stands still for a week while people cram into the library to prepare for the tests and papers ahead. Even though the week is tough and usually quite stressful, there is something about it that excites me. I guess it is a sense of finality and relief. My first semester on campus, I came back to my room on the last day of class before finals and found a brown paper bag outside my door. I looked around and realized everyone had a package outside of his or her door. I opened it up and found a little finals week survival kit with tea, ramen, some stickers (something to brighten spirits), and some balloons. I was feeling pretty stressed, but even that little discovery was enough for me to know that I was going to get through it and there were plenty of people around me going through it together.
As I discovered, the balloons I found in the bag were to be inflated, one for each of our classes, and the name of that each class written on the balloon. The balloons were then to be posted outside of our rooms so that when we completed a final we could go out and pop that balloon. While it sounds a little cheesy, it gives a satisfying sense of completion to that class. Honestly though, when you are working in high gear for so long, sometimes the best thing for a person’s sanity is to have something a little cheesy and light hearted, which brings me to my second balloon experience of my first finals week.
While finals week is a time for intense academic focus, it also seems to be a time for intense and desperate procrastination techniques. The first day of finals I get back to my room and find my roommate playing a game called balloons tower defense (or something like that). It became an instant obsession. I’m not usually one to succumb to the vices of a video game, but there was something so necessary about finding something to waste my time with. Mind you I did complete all my finals at a level that I am proud of, but any time I wasn’t studying, I was playing this game, and that was alright.
Finals week is crazy. Finals week is stressful. But it also is a fitting end of an academic semester. You begin to see people around campus with massive grins on their faces because they are done. No matter how daunting or overwhelming the weeks leading up to a person’s last final, there is a light at the end of a tunnel, or a balloon to be popped. And during the week, no matter how much is a person has to do, there is always some time for a little mindless fun popping balloons on the computer.