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Editorials

A Guide to Finals Period

An outsider’s guide to identifying different species of studiers

By The Crimson Staff

Each year, May’s finals period brings with it two things: tourists and finals. We watch from our desks as the tourists walk around the Yard enjoying the weather.  Our only solace is a passive-aggressive thrill we feel every time one of them rubs John Harvard’s foot.  We know perfectly well that they never get the idea of what it is really like here. To that end, we propose a new kind of Harvard tour, a safari if you will, to open up Harvard’s finals period to them.

No more wide-brimmed hats over loudmouthed students with jokes about giving JFK the shaft—instead, a Steve Irwin-esque, but probably safer, guide will show tourists all of the types of Harvard students during finals. The Crimson has compiled this tour to help both veteran safari goers and amateurs in their exploration of the Harvard biosphere.

The Finished– this student is perhaps the most easily observable to the casual naturalist. Preferring outdoor habitats in which to gloat, these can be seen taking walks in the middle of the afternoon and hanging out in front of libraries, just to see the looks on their peers’ faces and enjoy their hard-won schadenfreude.

The Almost Ready—this student can be seen furiously snatching up binders, legal pads, and other office supplies at Staples during the first few days of reading period, determined to, at the very least, finish the semester as organized as they always knew they could be. They can be seen arriving at their House library late at night the night before their final, at the very last, ready to study.

The More-Stressed-Than-You—you probably got a text from this one at the beginning of reading period telling you that you won’t be getting more texts until after finals period. If you bump into them, which is unlikely given that they guard their study space more jealously than Bruce Wayne guards the BatCave and leave it less often, they will probably try to beg off any personal interaction because they “Need to get back!” Impervious to persuasion and the plethora of study breaks held during reading period, if you see this one, take a picture—otherwise no one will believe you.

The Lamonster—this student is certainly the most easy to track and identify but the most rare to see.  Found only in certain floors of Lamont, they leave a faint smell of retirement home wherever they go.  Signs that you are looking at one: Clothing is baggy and worn, but not the fashionable kind, hair is messy but not in the Robert Pattinson hot kind of way, and shaving has clearly taken the back seat, but not in the Matthew McConaughey sexy way.  All in all, this student is close to being the hottest person on campus, if it all weren’t so unintentional.  What to do if you see them: Just walk away, there is a reason that the carrel next to them is the only open seat in Lamont, you might have the space you need for your studying, but good luck concentrating over the smell and nearly visible germ levels.

The Faux Stresser—this student can often be seen in house dining halls, alternating between sipping their fourth coffee of the night (necessary for the second all-nighter in a row).  They are not actually stressed, they have become desensitized to the pressure, hence their constant presence on GChat and Facebook.  However, they want to appear stressed, so they regularly talk about how they “haven’t even started to look at the material for that test tomorrow.”

The Real Stresser—this student shares a habitat with the stress-builder, and in one of the most truly beautiful symbiotic relationships at Harvard, they feed off of each other.  This student is secretly very stressed, but has the presence of mind to try concealing it to appear cooler.  Even more damaging, they have been preparing for finals for quite sometime.  To justify their stress they deny this, and regularly talk about how they “haven’t even started to look at the material for that test tomorrow.”

The Planner—this student is never far from a list or timetable. They can be heard with fellow planners, comparing, to the minute, how far behind they are on their studying.  More often than not, they spend half of their time revising their old timetables.

The Well Prepared—extinct, possibly fictitious, records of this student exist in largely unreliable revisionist biographies of famous graduates.

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