“The campus is in Finals Week,
And stress is thus at Finals Peak,
With projects, tests, reports at stake.
Five days to go; then, take a break!”
The 9 December 2019 poem celebrates the end of a semester… as does this brief essay.
“The campus is in Finals Week, /
And stress is thus at Finals Peak, /
With projects, tests, reports at stake.”
Finals Week always provides a busy end to the semester, with exams, papers, and presentations due in a wide array of subjects. Campus stress levels are collectively at a maximum, referred to here as “Finals Peak”!
“Five days to go; then, take a break!”
In Fall 2019, this was posted on the Monday of Finals Week; only “five days to go” remained until the Friday of that week and thus the start of students’ winter break. (Certainly, for faculty, grading is a remaining final hurdle before break, but it is generally simpler to accomplish that when meetings and classes are done.)
Fall 2020 is remarkably different in many ways from Fall 2019, and so it is a particular relief to see Finals Week approach in the days ahead. While the poem does not quantitatively represent the number of days remaining in this particular autumn, we are qualitatively near the curricular finish line, having reached the Thanksgiving break.
I will take a cue from the 2019 poem and pause updates here for a few days, until I can reassess my writing plans during a welcome semester break. Meanwhile, I will remember the immense patience, creativity, and fortitude that all of campus brought to the challenges of this historic year, and I know that pattern has been repeated in many other schools and colleges around the world.