Around the holidays students have a lot on their plates.
Besides turkey, pie and yams, students also have to digest finals, projects and papers while trying to balance the holiday excitement.
Whitney Lewis, an English teaching major from Oregon, said the holidays are distracting because she is thinking about seeing her family and what gifts to buy, instead of finals.
“I love being on campus when it is cold and snowy, and I think there is an excitement here when everyone is getting ready for Christmas,” Lewis said. “So maybe I am not necessarily thinking about the academic aspects as much as I am the social and cultural aspects of being on a university campus during the holidays, and I love it.”
Stewart Griffin, from Salt Lake City, has a similar view; he said the end of the semester is stressful anyway, so combined with the holidays, it is very hard to focus during the last few weeks.
“A lot of times by the end of the semester you’re burned out and you don’t have the same motivation you would have normally at the beginning of the semester,” Griffin said. “The thing is, you have all of these tests and things you are supposed to get done but at the same time you are worrying about just holidays and also just the end of the semester. So you want to do your best but at the same time you are running around trying to do a bunch of other things.”
Professor Jean Applonie, in the school of music, said the holidays have the opposite effect for her students. Instead of adding stress, the holiday excitement rejuvenates her students, which helps rather than hurts their finals.
After Thanksgiving and before Christmas, music students return and hit the ground running because they have Christmas concerts and performances and they need to be at the top of their game.
“There is so much energy generated by the Christmas holiday coming up you might think they come back (from Thanksgiving break) a little lax, slow-paced, but I think it’s so close to the final exam period that it’s just a short reprieve before the big finale,” she said. “I think that maybe if anything it might be a good little bit of a rest to give that final push toward final exams.”
Jeffrey Chadwick, professor of religion, said he doesn’t notice the holidays negatively affecting student’s work, but it does increase their stress.
Around the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, students have a lot of papers and projects to turn in, and the Thanksgiving break makes it hard to pull everything together the last couple of weeks. Even though the time around finals and the holidays is stressful and busy, it should be enjoyed, and Christmas break should be looked at as an award for making it through the semester, Chadwick said.
“People should just really enjoy the holidays; that’s what they are here for,” Chadwick said. “You are supposed to have joy in life, and this is one of the things that helps you do it. People shouldn’t let stress, especially the stress of finals and papers, cut down on their ability to enjoy.”