“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.
The library on study day reminds me of Dickens, for there are two equal groups of students who inhabit the library on the day before final exams.
That first group consists of those who have come for a quiet place to review notes or meet with their fellow classmates for study sessions. They smile and wave as they pass by, but they ask very little from us. They want us to keep the library quiet and they like that we have a bowl of candy by the circulation desk.
The second group consists of the folks who are desperately trying to finish up projects that probably were due earlier in the week. They have questions. They need sources, although they are not to picky about what they are. “Just print it out,” one person said today. “I’ll make it fit.” And they need help with their works cited pages. In some cases, they need help re-finding sources they discarded, not realizing they would need to turn them in. The only thing these folks have in common with those in the first group is that they both enjoy the candy at the circulation desk.
Like most of us who make our careers at colleges, I see myself in these students, although, to be honest, it is the second group with whom I most identify. I too was a procrastinator. If I didn’t understand something, I simply let my ignorance sit until the deadline was so close that I had no choice but to act. Then I rushed around, trying to do everything at once, and turning in projects that would probably make me blush with shame today if they suddenly reappeared.
It took me more semesters than I’m willing to admit before I was able to use the study day as a time to actually study for finals than a day to try to finish up work that should have been completed weeks before. I hope today’s students are faster learners than I.
But whether you’re the student who keeps up with your work or the procrastinator, there’s candy in the library to help ease the stress of the end of the semester!