• Xochitl Noriego

It's the final(s) countdown



Hoodies, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” and Starbucks holiday cups can mean only one thing: winter is finally settling in. However for anxious students across the country, these hallmarks of the holiday season are pushed to the background in favor of last minute revisions and late night cram sessions.


The end of the semester has always been a stressful time for students as they prepare to take comprehensive exams for their classes, but the pandemic has added new challenges to an already chaotic time.


For San Joaquin Memorial senior Cate Van Garsse, these challenges include "not being able to see [her] teachers as often to ask questions," saying it is "really up in the air" if she understands the lesson or not. This is an obstacle many students are facing with the new hybrid schedule as teachers may not be as available to ask for help outside of office hours as they have been in previous years.


This does not mean students are giving up in getting ready for the biggest tests of the semester. In spite of the challenges this pandemic offers, Van Garsse plans on "getting college applications done so [she doesn't] have to worry about them [during] finals week.”


Of course, students are not the only group on campus prepping for a busy couple of weeks. Teachers are hard at work to finish teaching all important material in this abbreviated semester while also preparing their finals on the online tool GoFormative, "a web-app for classrooms that allows teachers to give live assignments to students, allowing instant teaching adjustments and long-term student growth."


When asked how he was preparing for finals, math teacher Nate Wathen joked "lots of coffee." He then continued to say that he is "trying to come up with equitable measures of allowing students to demonstrate their understanding of the material while impeding any chances of cheating.”


This year has proved to be a rollercoaster with no signs of slowing down. The Covid-19 pandemic has altered all aspects of living in the United States, which obviously encompasses high school finals.


All finals at SJM will be given digitally this year to protect the student body, faculty and staff from passing along the virus, but even the added health and safety measures can not alleviate the traditional levels of stress that accompany end-of-semester exams.


Good Luck Panthers!


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