Finals week is definitely when students are particularly stressed out. As a grad student, we often have final papers or projects to complete for our courses — and I don’t mean the short little “research papers” we had to write in undergrad, either. I mean papers that often take weeks, not hours, to compose and require comprehensive synthesis of major ideas within our field of study. In addition to completing our own coursework, we often have finals to proctor, and then grade, for the courses we teach. This adds up to a really hectic and often very overwhelming week.
Luckily, once it’s all said and done, we have a few weeks to rest, relax, and spend time with family over the holidays. This doesn’t mean there is no work, just less of it. Many of us will be studying for comprehensive exams, writing dissertation proposals, preparing for dissertation defense, etc.
In the last few years, winter break has been a time of rest and relaxation with my family. But this time I will continue to write my dissertation and prepare for job interviews in January. No rest for the weary.
On the bright side, I hope to complete my dissertation this spring and defend in May. I can see the light, but to reach it I have to keep working.