OPINION: OCC should have week off before finals

With the stress of finals, students have their struggles with getting work turned in and feeling overwhelmed by the heavy workload some instructors assign prior to exams. Many four-year schools around the country have a free study week policy called “dead week” right before finals where there is minimum work given out. A majority of community colleges, including Orange Coast College, do not. 

Dead week activities for some universities include a “midnight scream” and “naked run.” At Iowa State University, dead week has become an official event. Student organizations are not allowed to meet. There are 23/7 mandatory quiet hours in the student dormitories, and the non-quiet, 24th hour is called “rowdy hour.”

At Georgia Tech, professors cannot give any assignments besides the exam during finals week in what they call “reading periods.”

OCC Physical Geography Professor Kirsten Berg, a graduate of George Washington University in Washington D.C., described her experience with having time to study before finals. 

“When I was an undergrad we had reading days where we would have three days to prepare before an exam,” Berg said. “If you had classes on Tuesday and Thursday, your exams would be spaced out instead of five finals in one day.”

When students lack enough time, they find it hard to finish their work since they are involved in so many classes and activities outside of school. Professors sometimes (it feels like oftentimes) give their students new material right before the exam.

If OCC had a dead week, students would manage their time wisely rather than having to worry about new material to work on. Purdue University which is recognized for academic excellence, states that mastering time management involves planning ahead, doing one thing at a time, using breaks wisely and taking time off.  Dead week makes it easier for students to be confident that they had enough time to study for final exams. 

Unlike many community colleges, West Valley Community College in Saratoga has a dead week policy. West Valley's policy states, “During dead week, within the classroom, each instructor will be allowed to structure the week to his/her own individual class time needs. Also during dead week, there will be no athletic events, club meetings, field trips, or extracurricular student activities.”

Saddleback College includes a specific final exam schedule to accommodate students. According to the final exam schedule, students' final exams are spaced out. Students at Saddleback have a day-to-day schedule of Monday /Wednesday classes with specific times and Tuesday/Thursday classes , meaning their classes only meet one time during the week of finals , making them have enough time to study for exams, without the rush of studying.  

If OCC made a schedule of having a week off before final exams it would increase study time, prevent burnout in students and decrease stress while studying for classes. With more time to prepare, students have a better chance at passing their finals and being more confident on what they should do during the week leading up to their exams. 

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