As finals week approaches and the panic of possible bad grades sets in, students are hitting the books.
Something that might ease the stress of finals would be Dead Week, a week of utter nothingness on campus, giving students the peace and quiet they need to study and work on their final papers and projects.
Certain universities observe this time, cancelling classes and prohibiting professors from assigning work and administering quizzes and exams. Some universities, while not giving students a full week, observe a day to at least offer some breathing room.
Murray State is one of a number of Kentucky universities that choose not to observe this much-needed time.
The funny thing is, many professors at the University still refer to it as Dead Week. It gives a sense of inconsistency to students who are frustrated with Murray State’s lack of any sort of breathing room.
Other Kentucky university students are in the same boat; Northern Kentucky University, Eastern Kentucky University, Western Kentucky University and Morehead State University are all schools that offer no observance to the so-called “Dead Week.”
The University of Louisville, while not observing the full week, has what is called Reading Day.
“UofL has one day between the last day of classes and the first day of finals with no classes,” Natalie Humble, a sophomore from the University of Louisville, said.
All class activity has to be complete by the last day of classes and there can be no university-sanctioned events on Reading Day, Humble said.
Bellarmine University observes a similar day called Study Day. While there can be no assignments or other class requirements on this day, the campus still holds events. These activities, however, are designed to help students calm down and relax before finals begin.
Bellarmine professors are also in their offices all day during Study Day so that any students looking to ask questions are free to do so. Some professors even hold special study sessions.
The University of Kentucky is one of the few Kentucky universities that observes a full week of Dead Week.
During UK’s Dead Week, professors are not allowed to assign any new homework, projects, presentations, quizzes or exams that were not already placed in the syllabus at the start of the semester.
Professors can cancel classes, but some do not, and as such are allowed to require attendance.
“Usually professors don’t give a hoot about the intention of Dead Week, so they always put things in the syllabus for Dead Week,” Kelly Loewen, a graduate student at Ohio State University and a UK alumnus, said.
So, even when a Dead Week is offered, the observance is seemingly ignored and the title is just for show.
It’s like universities just don’t understand that students and professors need a break before the “boss battle” that is finals week.
Professors and students alike go through the sickening stress and mountainous pile of work that only seem to grow in the last few weeks of the semester.
Students have final projects, presentations, papers, journals and assignments that all have deadlines falling the week before finals. Professors have to grade all of that, on top of going to meetings and advising student organizations in election season and hosting end-of-the-year potlucks.
The anxiety of it literally makes students and professors sick, it weakens their immune systems, it drags their ability to function into the ground. It feels like your body is giving out with each passing minute.
That’s where the necessity of Dead Week, or at least some sort of break like Reading Day or Study Day, comes in.
A time to sit back and finish those final papers and projects, to really get that studying done and knock those finals out of the park.
People were not built to be awake five days and nights straight, eyes glued to study videos and textbooks. Your mental health does not need to be jeopardized for the sake of your education, and anyone who tells you otherwise is dead wrong.
To the students and professors out there, take care of yourselves. This time of the school year is hard, but you’ll pull through. You always do.