The sun shone over the University of Memphis campus like a symbolic light at the end of the tunnel for its many students who are ready to be back to classes in person in the fall.
These students are gearing up to take final exams as their last regular semester learning remotely officially comes to a close. The UofM went remote not long after the pandemic began in March 2020, nearly three semesters ago, and students discussed how they are feeling going into exam week and what they are doing to prepare.
Myron Millican, a graduate student getting his master’s degree in exercise science at the UofM, said he is, “stressed, but I’m going to make it, though. I’m just going to push through. Honestly, that’s all you can really do.”
Before pursuing his master’s degree, Millican also received his bachelor’s in exercise science at the U of M but took a break from school after he earned it. Once he returned to obtain his masters, it was a whole different ball game.
“With some of the classes, it’s better to learn in person compared to being virtual, so it has been that aspect of being challenging,” he said.
However, because he has been in school for so long, he said it feels like it is easier since he has had so much practice taking exams over the course of his academic career. Millican also said the nature of the master’s degree program has made going into exams week easier because it is more intimate compared to his undergrad work.
“It’s more relaxed compared to undergrad,” he said. “The classes are smaller, so you do get that more personal, one-on-one attention.”
To stay sane and reduce stress, Millican said that he often ventures outside to enjoy the sun and nice weather.
“Honestly, just getting out, going to the park, clearing my mind, walking, finding something to entertain myself just to get me right,” he said.
Another student, freshman civil engineering major Thomas Tomlinson, said that he also feels stressed but is choosing to handle it in a different way. Similar to Millican, who spent his first semester back in school learning remotely, this semester was Tomlinson’s first ever at the university, which means that he never even experienced a semester in person while he has been in college.
Tomlinson graduated from West Creek High School in Clarksville prior to studying at the UofM and followed in his brother’s footsteps to pursue a degree at the university. Tomlinson made the transition from high school to college in the middle of the pandemic, a time that is difficult enough for most students under normal circumstances.
As exams have drawn nearer and nearer, he has been living by the so-called “three S’s” of college exam preparation: stressing, studying and sleeping.
He said that he has been the most stressed out over his Calculus 1 exam.
“It just seems like so far that’s the class that’s been kicking my butt,” he said.
Unlike Millican who chooses to spend time outside to stay sane, Tomlinson said that he has instead chosen to stay unconscious and sleep away his nerves.
While many college students forfeit their sleep to cram for tests, sleep is actually a huge factor in successfully taking an exam, according to a study done by Dr. Michael Scullin at Baylor University.
“Even during stressful deadline weeks, students can maintain healthy sleep habits,“ said Dr. Elise King, an assistant professor of interior design at Baylor, who also conducted the study in her courses.
During the study, which was conducted in fall 2017, Scullin challenged his students to get a full eight hours of rest during finals week, promising extra credit on the exam if they were successful in completing the task.
The students who were able to get a full night’s rest outperformed the students who either did not get as much rest or opted out of the challenge completely.
Final exams begin on April 30 and will run until May 6. The full schedule can be found at: https://www.memphis.edu/registrar/calendars/exams/21s-final-exams.php. However, some professors give their exams on the last day of regular class.