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Students get ready for finals week, search for open study space

Sara Felsenstein and Susan Head | Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For some students, end of the semester responsibilities make Christmastime feel anything but the most wonderful time of the year.

Students across Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s campuses cope with these demands using different strategies and methods.

St. Mary’s sophomore Bryanna Hillary strives to tackle assignments in advance of due dates to avoid the stress of last minute rushes.

“I need to confront stress right away so that I can avoid the building up of it,” she said. “I’ll write a paper as soon as it’s assigned even if it’s not due for a month just so I won’t have to think about it.”

Many of Hillary’s peers, like sophomore Jordan Diffenderfer, are less eager to cross things off the to-do list.

“I just pretend that I am not stressed,” she said. “[I] put it off and then I have a lot to do hours before it is due.”

Notre Dame senior Mike Rodio said he’s learned to better deal with finals stress over the years, but doesn’t necessarily have time to start work earlier.

“Generally, I used to be a lot more stressed out around finals, freshman and sophomore year, but now I kind of realize that you can be stressed or you can be totally relaxed about it, but the work remains the same,” he said.

Rodio said finding a quiet study spot around finals time is difficult, so he steers clear of the usual locations.

“I don’t even bother with LaFun or the library because not only are they crowded but they kind of have that stressed out feeling,” he said.

He said he prefers to study in the basement of Keenan Hall, where there are fewer distractions.

“There’s no windows so you don’t realize how late it is when the sun is coming up and you’re still finishing your paper,” Rodio said. “If I were to go to anywhere else I’d go to the music rooms in Crowley.”

Notre Dame senior Kelsey Clemson said the key to effective study is constantly rotating your studying location.

“The change of surroundings helps me to stay on task and not feel like I’m being punished by having timeout in the library or something,” she said. “Also for test-takers, changing where you study actually helps you to have better memory retrieval during tests.”

St. Mary’s junior Mary Parks said keeping workspaces open later at the College would make last minute work more manageable.

She said for late night crammers, finding a study space can be a challenge.

“I think my stress level would decrease if the library could be open past midnight, even if only during the last week of classes and finals week,” she said.

While Saint Mary’s may not cater to the procrastinating set, the College will be offering numerous study break options next week.

Saint Mary’s Annual Finals Week Late Night Breakfast, a complimentary meal prepared for students by faculty, administrators and staff, will be offered Monday.

Notre Dame will hold its 2011 Study Break in South Dining Hall next Monday, 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Students can enjoy a pause from studying with school-themed snacks, games, coloring and origami.

From now through the last day of finals, the Hesburgh Library will be open 24 hours a day. From Dec. 12 to Dec. 14 the Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore, Leep Varsity Shop and Irish Hockey Shop will hold Student Appreciation Days, offering coffee for 50 cents and a 10 percent discount on most items.

For those students hoping for some divine intervention, the Office of Civil and Social Engagement at St. Mary’s is sponsoring the 12 Days of Christmas, which will include nightly Advent Vespers in the Regina Chapel at 6:45 p.m. and a craft show Saturday night.

Carrie Call, director for the office, said the show offers students an opportunity to take a break from books and to take in some retail therapy.

“[The craft show] is a fabulous way to reduce your stress, get away from studying, celebrate the end of the semester and buy awesome gifts,” she said. “It will help reduce the stress of Christmas shopping too.”