Implement dead week!
Finals are on the horizon, and students are suffocated in projects and assignments with approaching deadlines. Due to the pressures of studying for finals week, students simply need more time, and the 10 week quarter system leaves no room for anyone to catch a breath.
“Dead days” were eliminated from the UC Davis academic schedule so that students don’t have to take exams on Saturdays. But universities that employ dead weeks still function without holding exams on Saturdays. Some students are left rushing to the finish line to submit their essays right on the day when they are supposed to take a final for a class. These deadlines and lack of time force students to ask themselves tough questions: Should students sacrifice studying time for their finals over submitting an assignment, or should they turn in a lackluster submission to cram in an extra couple hours of studying?
Students remain torn over an unforgiving system that forces them to compromise their grades and, ultimately, their health. Tight deadlines can promote rising apprehension amongst students, which exudes a sense of testing anxiety that especially affects physical and mental health. In order to mitigate and provide preventative action toward student distress, the administration should consider implementing time off for students to catch up on both their assignments and studies.
Rather than addressing a serious issue regarding students’ health and academic success, UC Davis simply advocates for students to change their attitude. The Editorial Board feels that this overview places full student responsibility on their distress during the testing season without consideration for systemic causes of testing anxiety.
While UC Davis has implemented a texting option for students who want to talk about their mental well-being, this does not replace actual in-person counseling session appointments for which often get backed up for months at the end of the quarter. Since the quarter system is so restrictive when it comes to deadlines, professors rarely give extensions to make up for lost time, although students may be facing incredible distress. And a texting service does not offer students a tangible coping method.
Universities like UC Berkeley officially have a “Reading, Review, and Recitation” (dead) week, understanding that students need such time to synthesize a copious amount of material, advocated for in 1961. Even though UC Davis is on the quarter system — compared to a longer semester at universities such as UC Berkeley — students still need ample time to prepare for exams, especially when some professors hold finals during week 10, some of which are not even during designated class times.
For instance, finals during UC Davis’ Spring Quarter starts right after the day that students end instruction. With just one night to study, students are left to scramble and cram in all necessary information.
UC Davis has no excuse in ignoring the possibility of days off for students to study. While it is long past 1961, there needs to be a call to action to bring back time off before finals week for students at UC Davis — for the betterment of student well-being and success.
Written by: The Editorial Board
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article stated that UC Santa Barbara has a dead week. While UC Santa Barbara’s week before finals is nicknamed “dead week,” it still holds classes during that time.