The last day of classes is usually one of the happiest days of the semester for many Obies.
Why? Because school is hard. The End. But in all seriousness, there is a striking contrast between the first and last days of classes. It’s actually quite interesting to see how much the tone of the classroom setting changes as the semester progresses over time. When you experience your first classes at Oberlin, observe the demeanor of your professors and classmates. Their energy levels will most likely be significantly higher than they are by the end of the semester. They also may seem a lot more content with being in class.
However, things change over time. Let’s be honest with ourselves here. By the time December rolls around, everybody is exhausted, and I mean everybody.
Both the students and the faculty members work ridiculously hard throughout the semester, and it clearly takes a toll on them. Unfortunately, overworking is a common (and unhealthy) habit that many Obies can admit to doing on a regular basis. Being productive is important, but there’s a lot of stress that comes with production. That’s why the semester gets pretty difficult for people here. Along with that, the work itself can get pretty overwhelming at times. Sometimes, students overwork themselves because of the workload that is required from the classes here. I can completely understand why the last day of class is viewed as a joyful day for most people rather than a sorrowful one, because it’s a sigh of relief for them.
I have experienced a lot of great classroom experiences on the last day, and the credit goes entirely to the professors.
They usually make sure that the final class of the semester is a special experience for students to enjoy. There’s a huge chance of receiving some type of snack and beverage that day. Along with that, there may be times when the professor doesn’t even have a lecture to give. Sometimes, the professor even dedicates the class period to listening to students’ reflections on the course. They receive written evaluations from us, but they may also ask for verbal advice. I’ve experienced this more than once at Oberlin. It’s a nice display of how much the professors care about the students here.
As crazy as it sounds, I feel a slight sense of sadness after leaving the last classes of the semester. It’s usually a very bittersweet experience for me, especially in classes I have thoroughly enjoyed.
I know, I know. “Jason, that is such a nerdy thing to say. You should be HAPPY after leaving your last class.” Yes, I do feel happiness and satisfaction in knowing that I don’t have to experience any more classes that semester. However, I miss some of my old professors and the interesting subjects they talked about in class. I miss some of the classmates I would interact with on a daily basis. Sure, we may befriend each other and eventually hang out outside of class, but it’s just not the same. Maybe I just miss the aesthetic of some of the classes. I can’t pinpoint exactly what I miss the most. It’s a combination of all of those things. This bittersweet feeling is a result of the quality education that I have received here so far, and I am grateful for that.
As nice as the last day of classes is, there’s just one problem: you’re not really done yet.
There are still final exams and essays to complete! The sigh of relief is only brief, because finals season starts almost immediately after the last day of classes. There’s still a sense of closure with the last class of the semester, which is why so many people (including myself) are content with it. It’s one of the most enjoyable classroom experiences I’ve ever had in my academic life. Trust me: the enjoyment is unquestionable. You can see it on almost everybody’s faces in the classroom.