Mixed Emotions Build up with the Anticipation of Finals Week

As the school year ends, the week many students either love or hate is coming up: finals week. 

Finals week is when students perform an exam or project for their classes before their winter break, and students and teachers alike have much to say about it. 

North Hollywood High School features students from numerous academies including SAS, STEM Magnet, HGM, HEA, Zoo Magnet, and Noho Academy, which mean different finals, but similar feelings. 

As finals count for a huge grade for students, one can imagine how stressed they may be feeling. 

For instance, senior STEM student Dorcas De-Leon Chavarria commented, “I am very anxious for finals this week. I’m taking AP Classes and the exams always weigh more, so I’m risking a whole letter grade if I fail an exam.”

Students such as De-Leon, who take AP classes, have difficult final exams and are often stressed the week before with studying and prepping. 

AP courses center around practicing the AP exams by doing FRQs (Free Response Questions) or MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions), making students anxious over them.

Senior HGM student Gabriel Barcelona expressed, “I am pretty nervous. It’s kind of crazy how one test grade can change our overall class grade by so much, even if we’ve done well all semester.” As Barcelona is in HGM, he is mainly taking AP courses and has FRQs to prepare for the upcoming AP exams in May. 

Students described how they were worried about their grades dropping due to the final, especially seniors as this is their last high school midterm week. 

To prepare for this, senior Zoo Magnet student Anahi Barajas stated, “I’m trying to get caught up in work and study for upcoming finals.” As Barajas is in Zoo Magnet, her finals consist of projects, presentations, and a zoo crew evaluation. 

Even though each academy has its unique aspects for finals, students overall voiced their concerns over upcoming projects and exams. 

Additionally, some students who don’t have too much workload stated their confidence and preparedness for the upcoming week.

Students such as SAS senior Marc Bautista replied, “I feel relaxed and confident. I didn’t study but I feel I’ll succeed in my finals.” His finals consist of exams for AP classes and research essays. 

Another senior student, Catherine Yanez from Noho Academy explained, “I’m not stressed about it as I had more projects than studying. I’m trying to study English and not procrastinate as much.” Her finals are essays, presentations, and quizzes that she already began working on.

As seniors are used to being piled with assignments during finals week, freshmen students appear not too worried about their first experience. 

For them, finals week is not as stressful as this is their first time. Some freshmen conveyed how they aren’t as worried about their upcoming finals as they weren’t assigned a lot of work.

“I’m doing good in all my classes so I’m not stressed and don’t have a lot of work since my teachers are lenient,” stated SAS Freshman, Alyssa Angel. 

She further explained, “Most of my teachers aren’t doing huge tests so I’m not that stressed. I’m only doing two big essays in class.”

This implies that freshmen overall aren’t too troubled about finals week as they aren’t swamped with multiple assignments.

Another freshman, Logan Padilla, expressed “I’m not stressed about it, and I’m confident in my abilities. I don’t study but have gotten good scores.” His assignments consist of an essay, a book report, and tests.

As it appears, freshmen aren’t too worried as they have writing based-exams whereas seniors have physical projects.

As students have demonstrated how they’re either concerned or confident for this week, teachers seem to have similar views in terms of preparations.

Teachers such as Zoo Magnet Ms. Benitez commented, “It is a stressful time for students and teachers, but it’s a good time to review everything we’ve done. When kids are in college they’re going to have finals week so it’s good to prepare.” 

She added, “I’ll try to do some things that incorporate fun and hands-on activities, taking into consideration they [students] are tired.”

Teachers know this could be a stressful week for students so they try to accommodate by not pushing too much workload and taking into consideration how they feel.

Similarly, English teacher Mr. Manzo stated, “I expect them to be stressed for other classes, and I expect them to be excited about their vacation because of their hard work.”

For some teachers, they have students do a final either before their assigned days, such as Mrs. Fowzer of Noho academy – “My plans are for students to turn in final papers and watch a documentary about constitutional rights.”

This semester, it appears teachers are assigning finals throughout the week and having students do another activity during class. As STEM teacher Ms. Sailor says, “I expect they’ll be engaged in the project and learn something from it.”

Mr. Avelar in STEM has been planning his three-part final alongside his coworkers which consists of a project, book, and exam as a review for the semester. 

He added, “I’m expecting them [students] to do well. We have been practicing a lot so far and what I’ve been seeing is that they’re doing well. I’m looking forward to their final projects about their lives.”

SAS teacher Ms. Rojas is planning on having review exams and a community bonding reflection. 

She expressed, “Just like students, I’m stressed because there are deadlines. I wanna make sure they’re prepared and that they have enough time to review, and it’s difficult because I’m burnt out and I’m pretty sure that my students are also burnt out.”

Ms. Rojas understands the importance of finals week and how it may cause students to be tired as she said, “In the real world, we give them a reality check. If we mess up in the end and not doing what we’re supposed to, consequences will come. I want to give them realistic expectations.” 

As mentioned by teachers and students of numerous academies, finals week is a time when many are busy at work for their grades, making it a fretful time. 

With loads of assignments to be completed before the big break, teachers are understanding their students’ stress and hope to wind down for the week. 

Finals may either be a hassle to overcome, but teachers and students are persevering through it together.