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The truth about college finals: Interview with a College Freshman

Lydia Krueger, Contributor

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Although first semester finals are now a distant memory, some are already thinking about semester two finals. For some, studying for hours and rushing to meet deadlines in a last attempt to raise grades is something to dread. Countless hours spent pouring over study guides and reviewing concepts, trying to jam months of content into already full brains. The time to prove to the teachers of Appleton North High School all the things that have been learned over these last few months. It’s good to know that the anxieties of high school finals end at the semesters, right?

Well… after high school, for those individuals who may be considering the college route, it is sad to say that finals don’t simply go away. I was able to catch up with a current college freshman Tony Krueger who has completed his first week of college finals. Tony graduated from North, so he has a good understanding of what finals are like for high schoolers, and an insight into what college finals are like as well. With his first finals week under his belt, he can say that finals don’t simply get easier either. He compares college finals to high school finals, only longer, harder, and worth more. At the school that he attends, College of Lake County, Tony has a finals week at each semester. This semester, Tony had finals over a span of a week, with no more than two finals in a day. He appreciated this schedule more than having multiple finals in one day because it gave him more time to study for one test at a time, as opposed to picking and choosing what finals to study for when many take place in one day. This schedule eased some of the stress associated with finals.

By reflecting back on his high school career, Tony remembers North finals being stressful and, in his opinion, a little pointless. He still believes that kids should not be tested on their ability to memorize random facts that vaguely represent a course, but that they should be able to show that they can use skills that are relevant to the subject matter of each course. In Tony’s experience, college has provided him the opportunity to take the classes that are necessary for his major, providing him with skills that will serve him well later in life. Although finals do get harder in college, getting good grades, according to Krueger, should become easier because “… you get to choose what classes you want… whatever classes you’re taking are likely to be required for your major, so you should be skilled in those classes.” For Tony this meant taking multiple liberal arts classes this semester such as English, philosophy, and music. All of his finals for each of his classes included a written essay, a task that he felt targeted a skill that he would actually use in real life: being able to analyze info and create arguments.
The truth about college finals is that in some ways they are similar to the ones we take in high school, but at the same time they test more than just our ability to remember facts and formulas. Although those who are interested in pursuing a post-secondary education may be discouraged by thinking about even more finals, it is important to keep in mind that what we might consider to be difficult in our lives right now is merely preparing us for the life that follows school.

The following is an interview with Tony Krueger:
Noctiluca: What do you remember about finals? How do you remember them making you feel?
Krueger: I remember the subject matter of each final having nothing to do with anything applicable to real life. I remember them making me feel very stressed.
Noct: What is your opinion about finals at North?
Krueger: Kids should not be tested on their ability to memorize random facts that vaguely represent a course, they should be able to show that they can use skills that are relevant to the subject matter of each course.
Noct: What types of classes do you take and what kinds of finals do those classes have?
Krueger: I take a lot of liberal arts classes which would include things like English, philosophy and music. They all included some sort of essay which is helpful for my career (lawyer) because I need to be able to analyze info and create arguments. Which is what is tested in essays.
Noct: What are finals like in college?
Krueger: They are harder. They’re longer. And they are worth more of your grade.
Noct: What are the similarities between high school finals (at North) and college finals? Any differences between them?
Krueger: They’re both tests. They both test your skills in the course. They’re harder. They actually matter. Just like I said before, they’re longer, they’re harder and they mean more to your grade.
Noct: How many times do you have finals each school year?
Krueger: Same as highschool, once at each semester.
Noct: Do you think that finals get easier in college?
Krueger: I think it should be easier to get better grades, just in general, because you get to choose what classes you want. Whatever classes you’re taking are likely to be required for your major, so you should be skilled in those classes.
Noct: What kind of schedule (regular day and finals schedule) do you have in college?
Krueger: It’s more like spread over like a week and I had a different final each day. I maybe had one day where it was like two finals.
Noct: Has having a different class schedule/different finals helped you in other aspects of your academic life?
Krueger: It gave me time to cram for each final everyday. I didn’t have to study for all of my tests at once. I had time to procrastinate before the final and study for one final at a time without completely losing my mind studying for a bunch of tests at once.
Noct: What do you miss the most about high school? Or what do you wish was different about college now?
Krueger: Nothing. I wish I didn’t have to do it. I don’t miss high school, and college I wish I didn’t have to do it. College is better cause you get more freedom, but mostly it is like high school, just harder.

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The truth about college finals: Interview with a College Freshman