‘Twas the Finals before Break


Abbey Humbert

With finals before break, the Drops of Ink staff believes that students will be able to have a real winter break and not have to worry about finals during vacation.

Staff Editorial

When you think of winter break, what comes to mind? Maybe Christmas, sledding, hot cocoa, or New Year’s? Or perhaps you think of studying, review packets and reading from your class textbooks, and immediately all the joy of the season is sucked out of you.
It’s the week every high schooler dreads: finals week. In previous years, finals week for first semester at LHS fell in the middle of January after winter break, a scheduling choice that many students opposed. The most common complaint from students was that preparing for finals during their time off made them feel stressed out, defeating the purpose of the so-called “break.”
That is why many LHS students are relieved that this year’s finals are being held before winter break. You may have noticed that school this year started a week earlier than usual to compensate for this change. It is a change that coincides with other schools in the area. Both Warren Township and Stevenson High Schools have already moved their finals earlier in the schedule, while others like Lake Forest High School are considering doing so.
As of now, it is too early to tell whether this adjustment will make much of a difference in students’ performance on first-semester finals. Nonetheless, the general consensus seems to be that having finals before the break is a welcome change.
The DOI staff believes that taking final exams in December will allow students to enjoy winter break for what it’s truly supposed to be: a break. It is a time when students should be able to forget about school for two weeks and relax, and having finals before break will make this a reality. The change also means that schoolwork won’t interfere with all the holiday celebrations and festivities that occur during this time.
Many DOI staff members also agreed that finishing everything for first semester before break allows students time to refresh during their off time from school and allows them to re-start school in January with a blank slate.
We think the change will also mean that classes will be more productive with their time. In years prior, because so many people would leave early to get a head start on winter vacation, we found that many classes wasted potential review time watching movies or doing other activities in the days leading up to break. With this off period now gone, teachers will be able to use more of their class time reviewing material for final exams.
With finals being held before break, it will also be easier for students to retain information since it will still be fresh in our heads, meaning we won’t have to study as hard. When the school waited to have finals after the holiday season, students would often return from break and have trouble remembering much of the material that we were taught, which left us scrambling to cram as much studying as we could into the week leading up to final exams. The practice of cramming can have a detrimental effect on a student’s test performance. A study done in 2012 by researchers at UCLA found that increased study time was associated with more academic problems because it generally meant students were getting fewer hours of sleep.
Having said that, the DOI staff acknowledges that there could be potential drawbacks to the schedule change. Link Crew leaders in particular stated that the break was a good indicator for freshmen students that final exams were on the way. It also gave them ample time to study difficult material at a leisurely pace even if, realistically, most students didn’t use the time to study. The change could similarly put more stress on teachers, as it gives them less time to finish grading everything from the semester.
Despite the drawbacks, most of the DOI staff believes that taking final exams before the holidays is a positive schedule adjustment. It will relieve some of the stress students feel revolving around final exams and will allow them to truly relax and enjoy their time off during winter break. With that being said, enjoy winter break and do whatever you want, whether that means hanging out with friends or doing absolutely nothing at all.