Figuring out fully online finals

Finals have always been a stressful and busy time for students, but this year the way finals week normally looks has changed drastically for Hamline students.

Z Martinez, Reporter

COVID-19 has changed the way that Hamline University manages finals. This year, instead of sitting in a classroom with classmates to complete the exams, students will be at home and online.

First-year Caleb Lueders plans on majoring in criminal justice and psychology and feels very confident in the finals he has. Lueders does not find the current circumstances very worrying, yet admits it may be harder to focus on the actual exams when taking them in the comfort of one’s home than it would have been in a classroom with nothing to serve as a distraction. He expressed concerns about missing out on the classroom experience that one would usually have during their first finals as a college student. Even so, Lueders also sees this as a learning experience in self-discipline.

“COVID has made it harder to make sure that I’m on top of everything. It’s easier to get distracted,” Lueders said. “But it also teaches you discipline.”

Remaining calm during this process is important, according to junior Lucas Paschal who is currently double majoring in biology and environmental studies. He admitted to feeling only slightly worried. while also expressing that this is not his “first rodeo.” He believes that taking them in a comfortable setting like his home will make it a better test environment. Paschal feels confident in almost all his finals, yet confesses that he does not see any of them as an “easy A.” All Paschal is hoping for right now is that professors have learned, after last year’s lockdown, how to properly manage tests as there were some that came with many steps to print, complete, and then upload tests which made things challenging. 

Studying has also become a rather difficult task for Paschal as he reflected on having been able to use Hamline’s public spaces to hold study groups in the past. Now, despite some of those spaces remaining open, due to COVID-19 based safety procedures it no longer feels like the comfortable space he once used to study. 

“Studying is a little bit weird just because I’m in my room where there’s lots of distractions,” Paschal said.

First-year Halle Arneson understands how distracting taking a final at home can be. She believes that online could make it easier for some students but may also make it harder for others since having the test right in front of you can make it a lot easier to focus than doing it at home with a lot of distractions. Even so, she feels that her experience of taking AP tests online has made her used to this process and that finals will feel no different than those exams. Arneson feels that preparing for them, just like any finals, will have her ready. She does her best to take advantage of any good places to study on campus while following Hamline’s safety regulations: either studying with small groups at a distance or on her own. Arneson trusts that Hamline is giving students a good amount of time to study and become mentally prepared for this year’s finals and their new formats. 

“I feel like this online option is for the best,” Arneson said. “Due to the recent spike we’ve been having with COVID and how bad that spike could get.”

Because of all the new changes surrounding tests and studying, Hamline students are preparing for an unfamiliar series of finals during COVID-19.