By Olivia Lewis; The Miami Student
As Miami students pour into Armstrong, the pungent aroma of coffee is immediately noticeable, revealing the chaos felt during the final weeks of the semester. Gone are the crewneck sweaters and Wellington boots, and in their place is a myriad of messy buns, hoodies and sweats.
Clusters of study buddies are scattered throughout the building, hefty textbooks in tow. If you listen closely enough, you can hear the sound of pens scribbling, and perhaps even the five-hour-energy beverages pounding in students' veins.
Finals week is a bit of an enigma. There's no spoken rule that calls for a semester-by-semester week of poor sleep, extended study hours and mental exertion, yet the realities of finals week are universally understood.
Miami University first-year Sydnee Roese, a chemical engineering major, currently studies calculus. She sits cross-legged on the short, stiff carpet, seemingly oblivious to the sea of white and grey papers strewn around her.
Her face is bathed in the fluorescent light that beams from her laptop screen like a freight train and her eyes appear almost glassy, tinged with increasing exhaustion. Roese has four finals to prepare for and she's been studying around six hours per day this week.
"The hardest thing about finals is how crazy the student center and library have been," Roese says. "I like to find quieter places to study, so I have to hunt more for study spots."
Her search for a secluded study session led her to where she now sits, against a wall in one of Armstrong's hallways. For Roese, sorting out her emotions toward finals is a cinch.
"Confident? No. Stressed, nervous and scared? All of the above," she says. "I know for physics the average will inevitably be a 50 percent, so I'm just trying to be average."
Miami first-year Victoria Sampson, a speech pathology and audiology major, took 20 credit hours this semester and works nine hours a week serving pancake stacks and omelets at First Stop.
In addition to the stress of studying for five finals, Sampson is worried about testing anxiety.
"Occasionally, I get testing anxiety, so I'm a little concerned about that," Sampson says. "The exams are two hours, so I have enough time to calm down and get back to being focused. As long as I can keep myself relaxed, I'm usually okay. "
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While she's still nervous she'll experience testing anxiety, she's chosen to focus on managing her stress during the throes of finals week. She'll take 20 minute breaks to watch Buzzfeed videos and listen to music.
As far as how she prefers to study, groups are not in her repertoire.
"I like studying solo mostly because I'm more organized," Sampson says. "When I'm by myself, I'll write down what I need to know and then go back to review it."
When asked about how finals week has affected her daily life, her lips form a pout and she points a finger at her eyebrows, which while free of any makeup, are still present.
"Yeah, this is me during finals," She jokes. "I don't have any eyebrows."
With finals in the form of both papers and exams, first-year Rosie Zhang, an international studies major, has heaps of work on her plate, but the stress hasn't quite reached her yet.
"I just push all of my stress to the papers' deadlines," Zhang says. "I'm always relaxed because I'm saving all of my anxiety until the day to submit the paper arrives. It'll be the day of the deadline and I will become so crazy."
But while Zhang hasn't constantly experienced stress, she's definitely noticed a change in her sleeping habits. She'll wake up and feel so weak that when she's finally in class, she won't even know what the teacher is talking about. To compensate, she takes plenty of naps.
The one aspect that hasn't changed? Her appetite.
"Oh, it's good as usual," Zhang says nonchalantly before bursting into giggles.
As the evening inside Armstrong progresses, the huddled students continue studying. Instead, they ravenously gulp more coffee down their throats and prepare for the long, arduous night ahead.