Every semester, right around the time the dogwoods begin to bloom, just before the weekday highs of 75 degrees fade away in favor of warmer summer days, there is a certain almost indescribable essence that befalls our jovial campus. It is a magical time that fills me with the utmost joy. Here I sit now, in the shadow of Tech Tower and soak it all in. Squirrels scurry about, nrown thrashers sing their morning songs and the caffeine-induced screams of the undergrads saturate the air. Thus, I know it is that time of year again: finals.
Yes, Finals Week. That wonderful seven-day span that proclaims the arrival of the great undergrad migration. An absolutely breathtaking experience the splendor of which will leave you in awe. There is not a more exquisite sight on the face of this Earth than the masses of the undergrad student body as they pour out from the student halls, lumber their way up Freshmen Hill towards the library to begin their week-long roost.
Here every species of student can be found rushing to complete their final projects before the deadline determined by the Rosetta Stone-like syllabi. The elusive CS, coding with his herd. The proud MGT, preaching synergy to the masses. The beautiful ARCH, crafting ornate structures worthy of the gods.
Many wear devices on their heads to keep them distracted from their tasks at hand. Losing focus, they “tweet” and “poke” one another while their progress falters.
Those that are not accustomed to rigors of this ritualistic tour-de-force are easy to spot. They close their eyes and slowly nod to and fro, passing into a lucid dream state. As for the strong, they tirelessly work through the night in order to complete assignments they’ve known were due since the first day of class. It’s an impressive feat to witness. Nonetheless, I pity their efforts to try and make up for a semester’s worth of procrastination.
A somber uncertainty settles over campus as the sun crests the spire of Tech Tower and the tattered students file out from every crevice, every nook and cranny of the library. Judging by the looks on their faces, many wonder if the ends justified the means. Under their breath you can just make out their faint vows that next year will be different. However, I recognize many of the same faces from the prvious year. The same infinite enigma. The same empty promise. How heartening it is to hear their cries echo and bounce down Cherry Street.
What they lack in initiative they make up in bravery. Heads held high they storm their respective battlefields to face their final catechism head-on, number two pencils held in hand. If the wind settles and you place yourself at just the right angle the clattering of TI-83s can be heard off in the distance rattling off like machine gun fire.
After a while it grows silent. An eerie apprehension becomes you. Just as all hope seems to be fleeting a face emerges. One after the other the shuffle from D.M. Smith, Swann, Guggenheim. Sheets of scrap paper their white flags of defeat. If only they had heeded their mentors’ warnings and partaken in office hours. If only they had submitted that extra credit. Then maybe, just maybe, this magnificent sight might never have happened. But that, dear reader, is a day that I believe, and hope, never comes.