Finals weeks are college memories burned into your brain and yet they are also like snapshots: pancakes and pizza at midnight, every single couch or chair on campus being used by a student cramming an all-nighter, comparing notes in the hallway as each fellow student finished his or her exam and sleeping for 15 hours after arriving home for the holiday break.
Finals may seem very college- or education-specific, but the reality is that the act of taking finals is preparing you for life after school as much as anything you learn in your daily classroom education.
Finals teach you how to prepare. When preparing for a big presentation at work, or planning a project that will take several months to complete, you are diving into a skill set honed during finals week.
I would love to tell you that there’s no stress in your future, but the reality is that there will be stress in your careers. You’ll have to deal with bosses or co-workers who may not be a perfect fit for your project or personality. You may have to complete a project in less time than you thought or would like. Group projects, long essays and budgeted time for final exams prepare you for short deadlines, projects with co-workers, and reports and publications that will come your way.
While I will say that pulling an all-nighter is mostly a thing of the past, traveling long hours with a presentation or project waiting for you as soon as you arrive is often part of the workplace.
As I so often find to be true in life, things are often about the journey as much as they are about the destination. During this busy time of year, don’t forget to take a minute to enjoy your classes, professors, classmates and university while you’re in the moment. I know I speak for many alumni when I say that you’ll be surprised how quickly it goes and how much you miss it — even finals — when it’s gone.