Oberlin Blogs

Finals Week

December 19, 2008

Prof. Steve Volk

Rarely are student and faculty Circadian rhythms more out of sync than at the end of a semester. Students -- well, you probably know already. They are in the thick of it. The library is open all night. I wander into my office in the library at 7 am to find a number of the lost souls sleeping in odd nooks and crannies between stacks or curled into corners, covered with coats. As the sun comes up (that is, if it decides to make an appearance), the quiet pace of the night gives way to a lot of running: students running up the stairs to deposit their final papers before deadline; rushing across campus to get to their exams. And increasingly -- the rhythms are changing -- jumping and dashing in celebration of another semester under their belts.

The faculty? We've got an easy week. Classes are over, we're caught up on previous grading, nothing to do until all that student rushing ends up parked at our office doors. The stacks of ungraded papers build up. More and more projects get shoved under my office door until the previously ample crack between door and floor is now impenetrable, and so the papers spill into the hallway outside my door. It would be humorous, except my door is now wedged shut and it takes a monumental effort to pry it open without simultaneously destroying everything inside.

Now the students are (mostly) finished, and you see them waiting in long lines for the bus that will take them to the airport and their well earned breaks, while we, the faculty, sit down with all those papers. At least it's snowing (or more a combination of sleeting, snowing and something akin to slopping). Perfect weather for grading.

Have a good holiday season.

Similar Blog Entries