Finals week is here, and I’m not sure who is the more stressed: the students or the faculty. I’ve been reading Facebook posts by faculty who are drowning in papers. And I’ve been helping students find some sources for papers that are now obviously late.
Here in the library, we’ve also been listening to speeches, answering quick grammar questions, and even doing a quick calculation to tell if a student is probably going to pass a class.
It’s a hard week. We keep candy in the library to help students who need the comfort that only a nice piece of chocolate can bring. (A momentary pause here while the Jolly Librarian runs to the front desk for a Three Musketeers.)
Of course, people react to stress in different ways, and the library staff has learned to adapt to them all (or most of them):
- We smile and nod sympathetically at those needing reassurance.
- For those who get a bit abrupt, we stay businesslike, but don’t react to their brusqueness. We are of the firm belief that most people’s rudeness is their issue, not ours.
- We gently usher the loud to the lobby.
For stressed faculty, especially those grading multiple sets of research papers, we go into survival mode: avoid eye contact and get out of the way as quickly as possible. (The same method works with zombies, I believe).