Finals week: Schools normalizing tremendous pressures

Cassie Montgomery, Co-Editor-in-Chief

“Finals week” has evolved into a phrase dreaded by nearly every high schooler, whether in real life or in movies and television shows. Similarly, words and phrases such as stress, exhaustion, and too much float around the phrase “finals week” like bees to honey. How is it that children from ages thirteen to eighteen can spend an entire week with little to no sleep in constant states of stress and still be considered mentally well enough to take up to seven long, cumulative tests for four days straight? In recent years teachers and schools have come to value grades over a students well-being, and have, in turn, integrated that ideal into the minds of developing children, a practice that is detrimental to  the development and mental health of a growing student.

While the purpose of finals week, to test students of their growth and knowledge over the course of a semester, can be an understandable factor in public schooling in theory, the execution of it has warped into students losing sleep and sanity over back-to-back, hour-and-a-half long exams over content learned months ago. The pressure to do well set by teachers and parents, as well as the massive sway these final exams typically have over a student’s final grade, put unnecessary pressure on the children, whose brains simply cannot process and handle those amounts of information and stress. Too many times, adults have convinced students that getting good grades is more important for their future than their mental health, and when students get a bad grade they are convinced that it is their fault and not the fault of the adults telling them that an A is more important than sleeping. 

Unfortunately, these ideas have become a part of our culture. Finals week and the school system, in general, has become a machine that spits out mentally unstable robots instead of fostering a healthy practice of learning, and there is not much we as a society can do about it. However, the truth must shine through: mental health should always take priority. Despite what teachers and society has forced us into believing, grades do not matter more than the well-being and sanity of the student.