Exam Stress

With the libraries packed and tension running high, students today near the halfway point of the first week of exams.

Undergraduates blew off pre-exam steam with the traditional midnight screams this past Sunday night. But despite the late night camaraderie in the Yard and several houses, the mood has for the most part been, well, rather somber this past week.

"I'm stressing because I've got three exams coming up in a row. I'm not very happy about it," said Jennifer K. Sun '93, who found a quiet place to study in the Leverett House dining hall. "It's kind of crammed because I didn't budget my time very well over break.

"I have an exam on Friday, then two on Wednesday and one on Thursday," said Muneer I. Ahmad '93, who was studying in the Adams House library. "It's been distracting because they're late, so I've just been trying to keep motivated for this week, because next week will be the real crunch."

Whether they put in time studying over winter break or not, students definitely hit the libraries during reading period. Lamont and Cabot libraries had hardly any empty seats at all over the weekend, according to library employee Harry J. Cooper.

Cooper said the number of students in the libraries has practically doubled as Harvard enters exams. "It's been nonstop," he said.

Thomas A. Gentile '92, who joined the masses in Lamont on Sunday said, "The stress level only depends on when your exams fall. I have everything compressed at one point, in the beginning, but once I get through that I'll be done."

"I wrote a paper over break, during reading period I wrote another paper, and did thesis work and now I'm finally studying for exams," he continued. "I'm just trying to fill my head with as many facts, figures, and anecdotes as possible--which I'll forget five minutes after the exam."

With Lamont and Cabot libraries packed, students spread out all over campus to get their studying done.

Sarah P.S. Ng '95, studying in her room in Hollis said, "I'm not too stressed out yet because my exams are spread out, but everybody studies here so the pressure's on."

Steven A. Kelts '94, preparing for the Moral Reasoning 34 exam, watched "His Girl Friday" in the Carpenter Center Film Archives yesterday. "I've got three exams this week and then I'm done," he said. "It's much more stressful than last year because I've got classes in my concentration."

Other students say they prefer a more laid-back approach to exams.

Doruk E. Ozgediz '95, for example, was busy watching the Washington/Detroit football game on Sunday. "I've got my priorities straight," he said, On exams, he added, "You gotta take 'em, you gotta get 'em over with so you can get outta here."

"I'm not sressed. Not at all," said Rena L. Pina '95. "I guess it hasn't hit me yet."

As for the exam schedule, students gave mixed reactions to the shorter reading period, but expressed almost unanimous disgust with Harvard's system of having exams after break.

"The shorter reading period is fine, as long as we have a longer intersession," said Sarada Gurubhagavatula '94. "I don't like having exams after Christmas because it ruins your break, especially when you see all your friends at home who are done and you know you have to come back to finals."

Sun said she supports the shorter reading period, however, because it allows for a longer intersession.

"The root of all scheduling problems is that summer is just too long," Gentile said. "If we came back at the end of August like the rest of the world we could have a fall break, a two week reading period and a longer intersession."

"I actually like having exams after Christmas because I like having a long reading period," he continued. "I need it to catch up on all the reading I missed during the semester and to do my papers."

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