In my imagination, study day is a calm oasis: a day when students stay home reading, going over their notes, and preparing for the final exams ahead. And for many students, that may be just what happens. But here on campus, study day is anything but calm.
I have just returned from the Testing Center where almost every computer was manned by students taking make-up tests or chapter tests since the TC only gives final exams for the next seven days. In the library and learning center, students are at the computers finishing up papers and printing off study guides and PowerPoints.
Any problem that occurs today seems major, if only because the deadline is now measured in hours or even minutes.
For example, one student had no idea how to send his instructor his final paper. After looking at the assignment sheet, we decided on overkill: sending one to a regular email address, one to the email inside the course shell, and printing off another to put in her physical campus mailbox. It was not a huge problem, but I could tell his stress level was making him unable to think through his options.
So we in the library use study day as a time to simply calm students down. We help them print out things that are due in the next two minutes. We call the help desk when, for some inexplicable reason, their password suddenly won’t work. We tell them where to find their instructors’ offices or mail boxes.
In most cases, this is not a day of mental heavy lifting. But sometimes it’s the most simple thing that can make the difference between a very good and a very bad day. Even for those who just walk by on their way to a study room, we smile and wave, hoping that a friendly face will make the coming hours and days a bit more bearable. It’s the only thing we can do, but isn’t that we’re all called to do?
The things we can.