New year, new semester and finished finals

It only seems normal that as we ring in the new year, we return to school ringing in a new semester. While the majority of schools begin and finish their finals during the last week of school before Winter Break, Carlsbad pushes back final week until the last week of January.

“More time to study,” they say. “You will be more prepared,” they say.

Well, I say forgetting everything I learned throughout the beginning of the school year after the two weeks of break sounds more likely. I do not understand the logic in continuing our semester into the new year .

In college, the grading period ends before the holidays and a new one begins with a new year. While I really appreciate the weeks in January we get for review, but overall it seems like a waste of time. High school is meant to prepare you for college and by pushing back finals, Carlsbad fails to do so in that area. Though college students and many other high school students feel a lot of stress right before break, they are rewarded by being able to spend the holidays carefree.

Keyword: break. A break away from school and not having to do anything with school. That’s what it’s supposed to be right? Wrong. The strategic placement of our finals this week forces students to think about finals continually through the holiday season. When the family we haven’t seen since last holiday asks us how school is going, a flood of anxiety and worry flushes over our minds because going back to school means one thing– finals.

The problem with holiday breaks no matter how long it may be, is that students have this “I have an endless amount of time before school resumes” ideology. Then, there you are, at midnight on the sunday before school returns, cramming to for finals. The student opens their science book and realizes they have completely forgotten how to calculate the mass of the sun, which inevitably leads to failure and a sleepless night. What a warm welcome back to school.

Teachers take these extra few weeks in January to tie up loose ends of all the units and maybe throw in a few tests here and there. This is usually not one or two teachers who participate in this ruthlessness, but almost every teacher. Of course, they are just doing their job and teaching us what needs to be taught, but if we had finals before break, we wouldn’t have to deal with all the stress right away after a weeks of relaxation.

Finals are a huge deal for borderline-grade students or for the classes whose exams are worth 85% of the final grade for the class. These tests can make or break a student, which means a lot of their break will be spent calculating the lowest score they can receive while still maintaining their  overall grade. Carlsbad does a poor job of simply “ripping off the band-aid,” by prolonging the semester– so instead they slowly tear off the band-aid, which we all know hurts way more in the long run.

There is a reason the majority of high schools and colleges have finals before break and I think Carlsbad needs to latch onto this idea along with the world. Finals week is inevitable and has to happen, but the timing and placement of this week can drastically change not only scores and semester grades, but also the attitude students have entering the holiday break and returning.