What’s the Rush?

Between maintaining a social life and struggling to keep grades afloat, it may seem impossible to introduce studying for finals into every student’s daily workload. However, holding finals after winter break enables students to prepare for the harsh and exhausting testing period known as finals week without having to sacrifice mental health for grades.

With finals often weighing 15-25% in the gradebook, it is no surprise that students will find themselves poring over textbooks, study guides and review worksheets in order to earn an ideal grade. This can be stressful and taxing on the students, but luckily, students are still able to take a slight break before finals.

“You know in college you’re not going to have this break, so it really gives them a chance to reflect on their semester,” math teacher Eric Graham said. “So [winter break] is giving them an opportunity to figure out what they don’t know.”

In the solace of a home or quiet library, students can study alone or with their peers. Free from the stress and pressure of classes and school, they can review concepts that they struggled to grasp in class. While in class, students may feel like they are unable to keep up with the fast-paced lessons, but winter break allows them to review material at their own pace.

“During break, you can look over everything you learned and go back to school knowing what you’re supposed to know. You’ll also know exactly what you are struggling with, leaving nothing to stress over during the actual week of finals,” according to an article in the Chicago Tribune titled, “Should Finals be Given Before or After Break?”

The current scheduling calendar for Portola High allows for an intermission week in between winter break and semester finals, allowing students to prepare even further in their classes.

On the other hand, some people may argue that having finals after winter break prevents students from truly enjoying their break, or that winter break causes students to lose focus on their studies. Although the stress of finals initially seems like a looming presence during winter break, most cultural or religious holidays occur or end in the first half of break. This frees up several days before school that students can spend however they desire, whether that is studying, hanging out with friends or relaxing on the couch.

“I prefer taking finals after winter break because it gives you more time to study over break and also you still have a week after winter break [to prepare before finals week], so we can still enjoy our break while studying and get more time to understand our material,” sophomore Ana Komarlu said.

The last week between break and finals is not only an opportunity for students who had began over the break to continue studying for exams, but also a chance for some students to begin preparing for finals. Students can still earn a well-deserved mental respite and then return to school prepared to study because of the extra week. Therefore, having finals after winter break does not necessarily mean sacrificing mental health or academic security, but rather allows for a harmony of both.