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Fewer exams do not indicate a less strenuous degree

When I tell my peers that I don't have any final exams I'm usually told, "Wow, you're so lucky," followed by the inevitable look. The look all art, education, English or journalism majors like myself know too well. The look that portrays how that person truly believes the work you do isn't equivalent to their own. The look that makes you question your major and the effort you put into your education day in and day out.

Sometimes it feels like people don't understand that just as people study different things, they also have different sources of information. To those who have final exams, all the material you need for success is static. You can find answers online, in textbooks, powerpoints, class notes or even by asking your classmates. Although studying for exams is tedious and extremely stressful, your success is solely reliant on yourself.

Though I'm grateful I don't have final exams, I'm often jealous of students who carry studying as their only burden. For journalism majors and other majors that focus on production, the information we need for success in our classes is not static. In fact, it's ambiguous. We are responsible for finding and producing work that is original, which means heavily depending on cooperation from other parties.

So while so many students are stressed over retaining information, students like myself are stressed over finding information. And just like if you can't memorize material in time for your exam, if we can't obtain information by our deadlines, we fail. Whether it's people canceling interviews, ignoring emails, being hung up on, or one of my favorites from this semester - "going to pass on this opportunity" - it's not easy. Our success is based on others' cooperation with us, and I don't think it's unfair to say not a lot of people like journalists. Journalists must often deal with the presuppositions that we are manipulative and pushy. I bet Quizlet doesn't call you pushy.

Luckily, knowing people think I'm pushy doesn't bother me, but what does are people who think they are working harder than me because they have exams and I don't. As students at a liberal arts school, shouldn't we have a perspective broad enough to understand what it means to be a journalism, finance, graphic design, religion, marketing, physics, architecture, nursing, chemistry, classical humanities, education, theater or even social work major?

I love my major. And even though I don't always like it when people hang up on me or respond to my emails two weeks after my deadline, the hunt for my own success is thrilling. To all those who will be up late in studios, staring at computer screens, making note cards, memorizing algorithms, solving proofs, writing papers or spending hours shooting footage these next few days, I wish you the best.

Though each student is evaluated on their work in different ways, we all share the similar relief when the last test is taken, project presented, installation put on or clip rendered. Here's to making it through these next couple days, no matter what you have left to do.

Mary Schrott