Opinion: Dead Week Should Die

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin

Let’s face it, Dead Week shouldn’t be a thing. Usually, at least in my experience, it ends up with more stress being put on students. The idea that professors should not assign major projects to be due the week before finals is admirable, but in a way it makes the situation works in the weeks before. Papers, presentations, and a lot of the big projects become due around the same time in order to stay away from Dead Week, so the problem still exists. It doesn’t help that Thanksgiving break takes place so close to Dead Week because it contracts the time assignments can be due.

It can’t even be said that all professors practice the idea of Dead Week. Students have to ask each teacher individually whether or not assignments will be due, so why even bother with all of the nonsense? There are not many obvious solutions to this, or else it wouldn’t be much of a problem anymore. There will always be due dates and there will always be homework, but they could, in theory, be spread out more effectively without the hindrance.

I have a few suggestions for how to further soothe the pains that many students feel during this time. Professors and other teachers should better recognize when major projects are due and could do this through the same systems that determine when finals take place. Each class, depending on its time slot, would have its final projects due during a certain week. Hopefully this would allow students to have a more manageable schedule of due dates.

Another idea is that Thanksgiving break should be shortened. I know that many will not agree with this sentiment, but the fact that we have a week long break two-and-a-half weeks before ending the semester is ludicrous. It becomes almost impossible to maintain momentum at the end of a semester when a week off is taken. It would be preferable to not have a break during this time, but something must be done to honor Thanksgiving. Many schools have the time off as only a few days, and this makes more sense to me. Fewer students would be able to go home for such a smaller amount of time but they would be going in a few weeks as it is.

One of the purposes behind Dead Week was to give students more time to study for finals, but I would argue that a majority of the student body don’t put in significantly more time than usual for test preparation. I usually only really begin to study a few days before a test because doing so earlier causes more harm than good, but I can’t say the same for everyone. Still, even though the time is meant for this extra study, regular classes and assignments are still held. The only difference is that major projects aren’t supposed to be due, but if they were due most of the work would already be finished by the time Dead Week arrives.

Dead Week presents students with a time that’s seen as “easy” before the most vital period of the semester. Taking this feeling away would not necessarily change how students behave during this week, but it could prevent less change in those student’s momentum towards a successful end. Dead Week isn’t totally useless, but it should be looked at with a critical eye towards how much positive change it has actually brought.

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