Do finals affect mental health?

Alan Philips in distress while studying for finals.

Hailey Fay, Staff writer

Alan Philips in distress while studying for finals.finals come back this semester after being canceled for the last three years by vote from district office.

Final exams were taken away in 2019 due to online schooling caused by Covid-19. Principal Chlebek said “there was no true continuity of learning” that the learning loss was unfair to students. Even after students came back to schools and the curriculum went back to normal, people were still getting Covid-19, and taking time off for it. Thus, attendance last year was not particularly good, and many students had large gaps in knowledge. The district office decided that now that everything has settled down finals need to come back. Principal Chlebek said “Teachers should be delivering traditional curriculum. And finals are a way of measuring student growth, without them the district would not be able to function properly

Finals have existed in some part since the 1800s. In modern times, finals are, in Principle Chlebek’s words, an “Avenue to Demonstrate what they [students] have learned over the period of time.” Most colleges also use finals as a measurement of intelligence for admission purposes. Jordan Jackson, a student here, says that finals are helpful because “they give prior knowledge on what to expect” for college.

Many students struggle with stress leading up to finals week there is however a debate on how it impacts mental health. Rowin Murdock describes it as a cycle. “Because I’ll stress out over it and then I could fail and stress even more.” Yahdira Vargas describes how it could hurt students outside of school because “Some people’s parents want them to have all A’s and discipline their child if they do not do good.” Some students like Faye Werner said the number of classes they have to study for were “mentally exhausting.” But Principal Chlebek has a different perspective. He says “Did they [finals] have a negative impact in, ya know, 1999. They cause stress undoubtedly but having stress does not equate to negatively impacting mental health”

As only seniors have done finals in their freshman year many have offered tips to the underclassman. Elayne Kania recommends looking at grade calculators and seeing what score on a final is needed to get your desired grade. She says it can often be a major stress reliever, or a really good way to incentivize studying. Many students said not to stress, like Mariah Sierra, who said “as long as you applied yourself throughout the semester you should be fine.” Some gave tips not for studying but for the test itself, David Simeone said to “skip questions and come back later if needed” and that “future questions might hint at past answers.”

Many believe the impact finals have on grades should be lessened. Principal Chlebek says 20 percent is the most “comfortable” and max grade finals will be worth it. Students seem to disagree with the comfortable aspect. Christian Roman says making finals 20% of a final grade takes away from the grade they have earned. Principal Chlebek did say certain classes should have alternatives to finals. That a final exam does not have to be a test, there’s essays and projects that could also be utilized for a cumulative grade.