Graduate Finals – An Insider’s Look

For many college students around the country this is finals week, a week of sleepless nights, endless pots of coffee, and broken dreams.  This make or break week for some students is the difference between passing and failing, while others simply see finals week as either a way to boost their GPA or to shatter all their hard work in a glorious explosion of mediocrity.

Most college students carry a course load of 15 credits, which amounts to roughly five finals depending on the type of work.  Many universities allow students to only take two final exams per day, allowing them to defer other exams to later in the week.  An advantage of graduate school is the fact I only need to carry nine credits.  Not saying grad school has been a cake walk, since I’ve done tons of other assignments, projects, papers, and tests during the semester, but all that previous work has been advantageous since I only have to prepare for three finals.  Fortunately for me, I took them all the same day.  Here is an insider’s look at a graduate level finals week over the last two days.


9:15 am – Wake up and check phone.  Groan audibly.  “Babe, pancakes,” I mumble to Haley, who at this point has already been up for an hour, studying, because she’s better than me.

9:20 am – Finally get out of bed.  I don’t think pancakes are happening.  I opt for cereal instead.  It’s a disappointing decision.

9:30 am – Finish eating and join Haley on the couch.  “I don’t have anything to do today, and I have all day to study, I’ll just do some internet for a few minutes,” I tell myself.

10:30 am – Realize it has been longer than a few minutes.  Watch Wayne Brady give an overweight lady a $100 bill on television.  She is very excited.  Another lady wins a trip to Florida and a pool table, but then gambles it away and walks away with nothing.  She is not excited.

12:05 pm – Finally get some motivation.  Read through some material for my Law final.  I have exactly 30 hours to learn how to successfully defend against a defamation lawsuit.  Let’s do this.

12:45 pm – Done studying for now.  Eat an apple for lunch.  “We need groceries,” I say.

1:10 pm – Arrive at the grocery store.  A wreck on the main highway made traffic horrible.  I secretly hope that person was on their way to meet someone important and is now late.

1:25 pm – Complete the world’s fastest trip to the grocery store.  I make eye contact with a lady who was muttering insults under her breath to the cashier the last time I was at this store.  Make a mental note to plan my trips better next time.

1:35 pm – Finally check out my items.  I don’t think my cashier is interested in winning employee of the month this time around.

1:52 pm – Arrive home.  Carry two weeks worth of groceries up four flights of stairs in one trip.  I am all that is man.

1:54 pm – Catch my breath from carrying two weeks worth of groceries up the stairs.

2:00 pm – Decide I want pulled pork for dinner.  Put it in crock pot and set for six hours.

3-4pm – Go downstairs to use the rec center in my apartment.  And by rec center I mean two treadmills, an elliptical, a broken stationary bike, assorted free weights, and a poor man’s Bowflex.  Still cheaper than LA Fitness.

7:00 pm – Finish putting the finishing touches on that duck book I posted here the other day.  That was a surprisingly tedious assignment.  Mentally prepare for the ridiculous final in that class.

7:03 pm – Pork is done.  Not waiting for Haley.  Smell is too delicious.  She probably won’t care.

7:06 pm – Inhale an entire plate of pulled pork nachos, officially negating the effects of the previous workout.

8pm-9:00 – Study for Law final some more.  At a certain point, I tell myself, I either understand the material or I don’t.  Besides, I can study tomorrow.  I can now play Madden without guilt.

9:00 pm – 11:30 pm – Madden.  Set the game to its lowest difficulty for the Ravens game.  Le’veon Bell rushes for 354 yards and 5 touchdowns.  I really don’t like the Ravens.

12:00 am – 2:30 am – Miscellaneous internet stuff.  Mostly Cracked articles and memes.  Remember I have a final tomorrow so should probably get to bed.

Tuesday – Finals Day

9:03 am – Wake up.  Well, Haley wakes me up because I requested she wake me up at this time.  Grunt loudly, which she correctly interprets as “leave me be, woman.”

10:16 am – Wake up a second time.  Whoops.  Oh well, the day is young.

10:17 am – Quickly realize I actually have to shower before I leave the apartment today.  This depresses me.  I avoid looking in the mirror.  I don’t even wanna know.

10:24 am – Finish showering, brushing teeth, and dressing.  Being a guy is awesome.  Eat an apple.

12:13 pm – Head out the door.  I’ve got finals at 2, 6, and then an online final, and I’ve gotta go to a speciality printing shop downtown to get things printed.

12:24 pm – Arrive downtown.  I have a decision to make.  Attempt to locate a spot in a garage two blocks from my school, which could be difficult because it’s midday, or take the sure thing and park across the river, risking the chances of being mugged on my walk back that night.  Opt to gamble on the closer garage.

12:27 pm – Thank god for lunchtime.  Garage has spots available, but not many.  I park on the top level of a parking garage taller than any building I’ve ever been in.  Take the stairs, because I feel like being healthy today.

12:40 pm – Walk however many blocks it is to the printing shop.  The guy seems confused by my requests.  “You want this all printed on one page?” asked the associate, displaying an unbelievalbe disregard and misunderstanding of the term “book.”

12:42 pm – Two lawyers enter the printing shop.  One is talking loudly on his phone.  I suspect he is doing this to appear “more lawyer-ly”.  I am very happy I chose to not go to law school.

12:47 pm – My print job is finally done.  I asked this guy to print my job double-sided on thin paper.  He went ahead and did it single sided on 80 pound weighted paper, which if you aren’t familiar is kind of similar to printing on a cinder block.  I finish paying and leave.

12:52 pm – I walk around the block to go to CVS. I need a ruler and some tape.  The checkout lady comments on how nice the mailman is.  I’m not sure if she’s talking to me so I ignore her, and she comments a second time on the goodwill of the mailman.  I say, “yeah, world-class dude.”

1:00 pm – I enter my building.  I need to cut this stupid kid’s book down to size.  No one questions why I have an exact-o knife in the library.  I feel less safe.

1:35 pm – Finally finish trimming and taping the book.  The heavy paper made it like folding and taping phone books together.  I feel like I’m gonna get some points docked for that.

1:58 pm – Arrive at classroom for final.  Someone asks me how my book turned out.  I said “swimmingly”, which isn’t the correct way to answer that question.

2:00 – 3:47 – Take final.  It’s a “design” final.  We had to design an invitation to a “Ladies Benefit Dinner”.  I feel like mine would smell like roses and baby powder.  This invitation would not do well if it was posted on Pinterest.  I turn it in and leave.

4:00 pm – Realize I’ve only eaten an apple today.  Subway sounds good.  The kid working there does not speak great english.  The only words I think he understands are “club”, “the brown colored bread”, and “yes, American cheese, please.”

4:03 pm – Sandwich is subpar, at best.  I’m disappointed in non-English speaking kid.

4:25 pm – Arrive back at library.  Decide I will study for the Law Final now.

4:55 pm – Decide I’ve studied enough.  Write a blog entry about why Roger Goodell sucks.  I feel like that’s a point that doesn’t need to be explicitly stated.  Oh well.

6:00 pm – In classroom for final.  So, so happy annoying kid in my class will never be seen my me again (hopefully).  To demonstrate my disdain, he once brought in a newspaper where he was on the front page as he was crossing the finish line for some 5k in Beaver Falls.  This is not the type of person you become friends with.

7:00 pm – Finish a final the professor stated would take us at least an hour and a half to finish.  He looks surprised.  I give him a thumbs up and say “later”.  I instantly regret how ridiculous I probably booked and sounded.

7:20 pm – Arrive home.  I love not rush hour.  Eat some cereal.

7:22 pm – Ready to take my online final.  It’s comprehensive, but I’m not really worried.

7:55 pm – Finish online final.  I am officially done with finals.

7:58 pm – Begin mocking Haley because I’m done with finals and she isn’t.

8:07 pm – Finish mocking Haley.

8:10 pm – 9:55 pm – More Madden.  I’ve got the Steelers sitting pretty at 8-0.  Just resigned Andrew Luck to a 6 year/132 mil contract.  He wanted $145 mil.  Sucker.

10:00 pm – Haley asks me to turn on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.  Realize I’m currently living “the good life”.

10:13 pm – Taylor Swift finishes performing her first song.  Mike and I text each other and gossip like school girls.  Nate, in the same text, repeatedly says “Taylor Swift can get it.”  I suspect he finds her attractive.

11:00 pm – 3 am – More Madden.  Being done with finals is awesome.


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