Dead Week would help some, hurt others

By Gus Bode

Some universities have named the week before finals “Dead Week” with no scheduled classes or assignments, so students can have more time to study.

Many students at SIU say they wish the university would implement the same practice.

Coleman Cromwell, a sophomore from Millstadt studying industrial design, said he thinks dead week would be a great idea.

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Kevin Ortega, a senior from Glen Ellyn studying mechanical engineering, studies for his fluid and thermal mechanics final early Wednesday morning at Morris Library as others take a break. “This small nap was all I needed,” said Elhaum Mogharreban, a senior from Carbondale studying communication disorders and sciences. Mogharreban spent all night in Morris Library studying for a rehabilitation class final. “Staying up all night had to do with the procrastination factor,” Mogharreban said. Nathan Hoefert | Daily Egyptian

“It would relieve all the stress of the assignments and give us time to study for multiple days instead of just the day before,” he said.

Dylan Greeney, a junior from Herrin studying biomedical science, said he had three tests last week and faces four finals this week, three of which come from the same classes he had tests in the previous week.

“I think that it would probably help me quite a bit,” he said. “It would help the person that’s been studying all semester to have one more week. … For someone that hasn’t studied throughout the semester, I don’t know if that would help a whole lot.”

Nic Corpora, a senior from Carbondale studying journalism at the University of Oregon, said his university has dead week and he thinks it’s beneficial.

“It gives you more time to go over everything, so I’d say it helps more than anything,” he said.

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Chancellor Rita Cheng said in an email it’s not tradition for SIU to have a dead week.

“Our calendar is designed to give students the weekend before finals to prepare,” she said in the email.

She said course material is spread out during several weeks, and it would have to be more compressed if the school subtracted a week of classes.

Greeney said a week without classes would concern him, too.

“If you have a dead week, how much would we have to lose out on the material that would have been provided to us?” he said. “Because you’re basically eliminating a week of school that you paid for.”

Instead of implementing a dead week, Cheng said the university offers quiet hours in the residence halls and additional library hours.

It’s no secret that finals bring a sleepless and strenuous week for many students as they cram into the library. At the University of California, San Diego, the main library became so crowded that students began protesting on Friday to reopen another library that had been closed the previous summer.

For some, a fear of giving students a dead week could be that they would take advantage of it to party.

“There’s the people that are studying quite a few hours a week anyway,” Greeney said. “I think that week is going to be a party week for them, just to relax.”

Corpora said he doesn’t think students at his university use the week to party as much.

“There are definitely times where you want to blow off steam because you’re getting ready for finals and it’s stressful,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say people take advantage of it to party. Everybody cares about their grades too much.”

However, the schools that do implement a dead week still see issues.

According to a USA Today College article, many student newspapers have reported dead week isn’t conducted properly. Professors work around the policy and still schedule classes, assignments and tests the week before finals.

An editorial in The Oklahoma Daily, the University of Oklahoma’s student newspaper, states, “If there’s one thing you’re sure to see on Facebook and Twitter in the coming days, it’s that dead week isn’t very dead.”

Corpora said the journalism school at his university has everything due during dead week because there aren’t many tests the department requires.

“In non-journalism classes, it just sort of depends on the subject and the teacher (on) whether or not they give new material,” Corpora said. “There are teachers who will add material on that week that will be on the final.”

Cheng said she doesn’t think professors would try to work around dead week if it was implemented at SIU because faculty would set the policy.

Either way, she said she doesn’t think a dead week would be necessary.

“SIU expects that students do their work throughout the semester,” Cheng said.

 

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