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Finals Week Survival Guide, Day 5: Closing thoughts for a cold semester

Where have I been? you ask. What happened to the entries for days 3 and 4?  you want to know. We missed your incisive witticisms and insightful observations, you say (Ok, I made up the last one…)

I’ll tell you what happened: finals week. It gets a bit hectic around here for faculty and staff, too, and this year was no different. Unfortunately, I’ve missed out on telling you some interesting stuff (but don’t worry, I’ll get us caught up).

As finals week winds down (the very last set of exams begins as I type this), I find myself empathizing with our young Knights. I am sure the students are experiencing a vast array of emotions. The freshmen have only just begun to get adjusted, and now must head home and switch into an older, rustier–likely slower–gear. Their new lives and their old ones may collide at several junctures in the next few weeks, and they may feel a bizarre mix of joy and pain as they start to re-think their definitions of “home.” But I know they all have supportive families to help them work through these changes.

Tuesday night was Late Knight Breakfast, a longstanding and popular BU tradition. At LKB, devoted faculty and staff members gather in Frazier Hall from 10:45-midnight to serve frazzled, diligent students fruit, bacon, biscuits and waffles to help them stay charged up for finals. Was I among these devoted staffers? Indeed, I was, and, though I am a proud alum, this was my first LKB, and I have to say, it was a blast.

Students skittered–excited, festive, wired, and strung out on coffee–from table to table, socializing and eager for free food. There was a Christmas sweater costume contest (the young lady who won had a sweater with working lights.WOW.) and a sense of unity and camraderie filled the air (the kind you can only feel when you’re up late and working hard). All in all, students had a good time, and I can only hope they manuevered smoothly through the rest of finals week.

On the note of  finishing the semester smoothly, I feel I must share a story, dear readers, a first for me, and an extraordinarily gratifying one.

Earlier this semester, a colleague identified for me a particular freshman who was struggling in Expository Writing and felt frustrated. Coincidetally, I visited a class in which the same student was registered and asked the class, as a whole, to discuss writing skills and concerns. This particular student voiced some, and I followed up with the student afterward. We met a few times, worked hard on some writing, and the student finished the semester. I haven’t spoken with this student in a few weeks.

This morning, after trekking across campus in the twenty-degree weather, I found a card stuck under my office door. It was a Christmas card from this student, filled with warm wishes, compliments, and thanks for my help.

Things like that are the reason I come to work in the morning. As we close the semester at BU, I hope very much that this holiday season you can each have a moment filled with similar joy, be it the joy of family, friends, peace, or helping others.

Peace, love, and joy to all of you this holiday season.

Jessica Hume, Bellarmine University, c/o 2005
Director of Writing and Parent Communications

PS I will post only as necessary over the break. B/c students are not on campus, it will be very quiet here.

PPS-UPDATE! Check out this link from the Washington Post regarding more interesting info on “helicopter” parents: 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/04/AR2007110401754.html

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About Cassie

I'm the Director of the Writing Center and Director of Parent Communications at Bellarmine University.

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