Students at Utica College prepare for finals


Alexandria Leland

Students participating in PHY 141 class taught by Dr. Jonathan Gaffney.

Mickale Thompson, Special Assignments Reporter

In a year filled with various experiences, challenges and changes at Utica College, the 2021 fall academic semester is coming to an end and finals are approaching.

Returning to campus life pre-COVID-19 has been on the minds of many. According to sophomore wellness and adventure programming and education major Kaden Colafrancesco, the reaction to the end of the semester has been good because this semester has been better compared to last semester. 

“For me, I have only been here at college while COVID has been going on,” Colafrancesco said. “I don’t know what college is really like without COVID. It’s been good returning to classes though, the professors are very understanding of everything that’s going on and are more than willing to work with you if you have any issues or concerns. It can be hectic at times but I’ve adapted to the conditions and have figured out ways around them which work for me.”

Some students have different methods when approaching finals week.

“When it comes to preparing for finals, I spend several hours studying each day either by myself or with other people,” Colafrancesco said. “I think I do best in a study group [rather] than by myself because they force me to stay focused on what we’re doing. When it comes to taking the final either I feel fine because I know that I’m going to do good or I feel anxious because I don’t feel confident and think that there’s a chance that I’m not going to pass it.” 

Approaching the end of the semester is strategic and requires planning for some.

Senior and first-year graduate occupational therapy major Madealyn Frankovic said the most important thing students should do when approaching the end of the semester is to plan their time wisely and make time for themselves because people sometimes get stressed out from assignments and finals, but taking care of yourself is just as important.

Ending the semester on a high note is just as important as starting off well and for some students, it can have a huge impact. 

“Finishing the semester strong is super important because it can either make or break your overall GPA,” Frankovic said. “If you’re falling behind in a class, final assignments and tests can bring up your grades drastically. On the flip side, if you do well all semester and tank the last few assignments, it can blow away all the hard work you’ve already done. It’s important to stay motivated right until the very end and when you finish, you’ll feel great about what you’ve accomplished.”

The end of the semester and final can cause many challenges but finding the right balance is important.

“Making time for yourself is so hard during finals week,” Frankovic said. “Oftentimes, people find themselves constantly working in order to do well, but you can only push yourself so much. Taking frequent breaks and rewards are important to finish with a strong mind. Also, burnout is also very hard to deal with. By this time in the semester, burnout is at its peak. Dealing with burnout can be hard but you have to have a ‘can do it’ mindset. This ‘pain’ is only temporary and you can and will get through it.”

Professors play a huge part in the academic success of students. During finals, students often turn to more for help.

“I think professors are willing to help students prepare for finals week if students are willing to put in the effort,” Frankovic said. “If you show your professors that you’re working hard and trying your best they will be more than likely to help you through finals. If you show disinterest in doing well at all, then professors won’t give you their time because you aren’t giving them yours. It’s a give and take relationship.”

Professors experienced the challenges of the academic semester as well but persisted alongside students.

“This semester has been a challenge,” Director of Media Relations Christine Leogrande said. “I think that we have all been affected by the pandemic, losing or fearing for the lives of our loved ones, and dealing with the necessary inconveniences of mandates. Some people will use that as an excuse, but others have been deeply and profoundly affected by it.”

To some professors, the approach to finals varies on the class and students. 

“Some students wait too long to prepare,” Leogrande said. “If you study and do your work the entire semester, there is no reason to panic over finals, just review your materials thoroughly. At this point in the semester, a lot of students will come to you with their problems and ‘reasons’ for not completing their work. At the end of the day, professors need to assess a student’s sincerity and commitment to learning.” 

Finals can bring a lot of pressure on students. The expectation of doing well can hover in someone’s mind, but students often support each other and share tips and advice because they are experiencing the same things. 

“My best advice for students preparing for finals is to start as soon as possible so you don’t have to rush your studying,” junior cybersecurity and computer science major Hayden Lohmann said. “Also, getting away from the dorms can be very beneficial as the noise can’t be controlled all the time like in the day at the library.”