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Notre Dame students prepare to take finals on Saturday

| Monday, May 10, 2021

Finals week at Notre Dame will be held differently this semester, as reading days will take place on May 12, 13 and 16 — Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday — and examination days will take place on May 14, 15 and 17 through 19 —  Friday, Saturday and Monday through Wednesday.

While the new schedule makes finals week longer, giving students more time to study and prepare for finals, many have expressed frustration at having to take exams on a Saturday. One such student is sophomore Lyla Senn, who said she has two finals scheduled for that day.

Senn said she typically appreciates having finals earlier in the week so that she has more time to spend with friends before school goes on break — but she was shocked to find out she will now have to take finals over the weekend.

“I didn’t believe it at first and then it was very upset,” Senn said. “When the professor said that our final was on Saturday, I was like, ‘Are you kidding?’”

Senn noted that the University has not given students many breaks this semester and said finals week reflects that pattern. There were a total of two “mini-break” days included in the spring semester, on March 2 and April 21— a Tuesday and a Wednesday, respectively. Students also were given a break for Good Friday, on April 2.

“It’s just been such a brutal semester,” Senn said. “I feel like they’re taking the one day a week away from us that we really appreciate. And considering that we didn’t have a spring break — they gave us a random Tuesday and a random Wednesday off — it felt almost expected that they would also take away the Saturday of finals week.”

Sophomore Gabby Keller said she was also disappointed to learn that she would have an exam on Saturday. She said she would have spent that Friday night taking a break from studying with her friends but will now have to focus on schoolwork.

“I was disappointed,” she said. “I was also a little bummed out because it will be my last weekend in South Bend, and I would rather go out to dinner with my friends or do something fun on that day.”

Keller said she prefers the typical finals schedule that spans one week instead of the one this year.

“I was like, ‘Oh, that kind of sucks to have to go to a final on our last Saturday’,” she said. “I feel like I will never end my finals because they go over a weekend, but then there’s also a break in the middle that I can’t even appreciate because I know I’ll just be stressed about my upcoming exams.”

Sophomore Erin O’Callaghan said Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, and pointed out that holding exams on that day might be unfair for Jewish students.

She also said that the finals schedule makes the week feel longer. While she said she will appreciate the extra time she has to study, she said, she thinks it will feel like finals are lasting forever.

“I feel like having it longer just means that you’re stressed for longer periods of time,” she said. “Part of me would almost just rather have finals like a Band-Aid — just rip it off.“

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