Why I love finals season

Hidden joys in a terrible time

Finals season has as much a culture of its own as Coachella. Yes, the comparison seems strange, but stick with me for a moment. Both occur regularly during the year, have a distinct sense of style and share an atmosphere of fervent daze. The two events also both take place at a huge expense; Coachella in terms of monetary expense and finals in terms of mental expense. And people dream of both making it to Coachella and making it through finals. It is indeed one of those things where one wishes that they could close their eyes and arrive at their final destination. 

While most people would definitely favor experiencing Coachella over experiencing finals, there are some very specific parts of finals season that I particularly enjoy and inevitably remember. 

Finals means many things for students — no sleep, stress, stress eating, all-nighters, snacking, religious trips to the library and absolutely no fashion sense. To me, I particularly enjoy finals for the lack of importance given to fashion sense. I’m a person who enjoys oversized clothing, comfy sweatshirts — basically anything I can bury myself in. What better excuse is there to wear clothes I can turtle into than finals season? I am always looking for new ways to explore the limits of what I can get away with during this time of year. Pushing the boundaries of “acceptable” clothing at a fashion-conscious school like the University is one of the few things I enjoy about finals season. 

Furthermore, on the topic of pushing boundaries, food habits are another thing that take a strange turn during finals season. Stress-eating is, of course, mandatory, and it is almost taken for granted that finals week is a cheat-week. I can successfully convince myself that eating junk non-stop is perfectly normal and deserved — I am putting my body through the most stressful seven days of my life, or at least this the most stressful experience of this half of the year. 

Finals are so daunting that the light at the end of the tunnel almost seems non-existent at times and conversations start to take on morbid subjects. Hence, I tell myself that I am more than entitled to eat as if it were my last day on Earth. Societal norms for meal timings and appropriate meal items are done away with. Pancakes at 2 a.m. are perfectly fine. Leftover lasagna in the fridge for breakfast after pulling an all-nighter seems regular.

Aside from food and attire, the culture of finals season is also culminated by the feeling of solidarity amongst the student body of the University. Everywhere I walk, I feel this intrinsic connection to every other student walking along with me, dragging our heavy, sleep-deprived bodies along to libraries, to exam halls, to the dining halls. Even if I don’t know them, we can still exchange a small grimace of a smile. We share the same baggy clothing, purple eye-bags, messy buns or hats thrown on over unwashed hair, coffee cups clutched in hands and the same burden of stress that we are anxiously waiting to be liberated from. 

There is something almost soothing about the sound of libraries packed with students and pages of notes or textbooks ruffling amidst the lone cough here and there. The sight of seeing everyone in the same place reinforces this feeling of solidarity and the unspoken line, “It’s ok, we’re all in the same boat.” 

Yet of course, the most wonderful part of finals week is the end, which is the ultimate reason why I enjoy this time of year. The feeling of circling that last multiple choice, of dotting the period after the last word of that fervently written essay, is almost surreal. It is miraculous and incredulous to us that we actually survived a week of finals. This is the exact reason why the victory walk back home is so much sweeter. It is as jubilant as the final scene in The Breakfast Club —  having conquered a hard seven days of mental and physical exertion we all deserve to feel like Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air triumphantly. 

Shree Baphna is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at life@cavalierdaily.com

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