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Dr. Kat’s List: Five Colleges with Fun Finals Week Traditions

The word “finals” strikes fear in the hearts of many college students, as it’s the culmination of a semester’s worth of work and sometimes the determining factor of a final course grade.

Colleges know the pressure that students are under when it comes to finals, and many aim to curb the anxiety by offering on-campus events to ease the stress. Over the years, many colleges have developed finals week traditions as a way of bringing the campus together and easing the stress of exam time.

From food to fun, here are five colleges with cool finals week traditions!

Carleton College, Northfield, MN
It’s no secret that finals fill students with anxiety, frustration, and stress. It’s a lot to keep bottled up, but this finals week tradition at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota helps students let it all out.

At 10:00 p.m. the night before finals start, all Carleton students let out a collective “Primal Scream.” They lean out windows, stand in hallways, and gather outside to scream at the top of their lungs and let out all their finals anguish and despair. After the scream is over, students go back to studying.

That same night, the school also offers Late Night Breakfast, where students are treated to a great meal with the entire Carleton campus. While the exact origins of the Primal Scream are unclear, it’s a fun Carleton tradition that helps students get through those last few days of the semester.

Pomona College, Claremont, CA
Sweets and treats are the staple of most college students’ diets during finals week, but Pomona College decided in 1987 to take it to the next level with its Death By Chocolate event.

Held on the last day of classes each fall semester, Death by Chocolate is every chocolate-lover’s dream. The Smith Campus Center is transformed into a chocolate wonderland, with chocolate fondue fountains, chocolate-covered fruit, pretzels, graham crackers, and more as far as the eye can see.

There are so many options that many students develop a strategy for getting first dibs on the chocolaty goods. It’s a great event that gives students a break from studying and the opportunity to enjoy some tasty treats.

University of North Carolina – Greensboro, Greensboro, NC
For a finals week tradition steeped in superstition, look no further than the apple offerings at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro.

In the days leading up to finals, students at UNCG place apples and other offerings for good luck at the statue of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, on campus.

It’s a relatively new tradition, with the first documented offering of a coin in 2007. Since then it has evolved to include students leaving notes, half eaten-apples, spare change, fruit, and other trinkets as a symbol of good fortune for all during exams.

Illinois State University, Normal, IL
One of the best ways to deal with exam stress is to just “Shake it Off,” and the students at Illinois State University do just that with a huge dance party known as Club Milner.

Sponsored by the Student Government Association, Club Milner, named after the school’s Milner Library, is a 10-minute dance-fest outside the library as a prelude to finals week. There’s a DJ, choreographers, videographers, and hundreds of student and faculty, all dancing it out before hitting the books.

In addition to this physical outlet for exam stress, ISU also offers late-night breakfasts for studying students.

Yale University, New Haven, CT
The end of the semester can be especially distressing for freshmen, who have never taken a college-level final before. Many may not know what to expect, and the anxiety can leave many feeling lost. Luckily, Yale University aims to make finals week a little easier for students by offering a variety of events for first-year and upperclassmen during Reading Week.

The Freshman Dinner kicks off the finals week festivities, where first-years get to enjoy a grand dinner with classmates in a dining hall decorated with lights, ice sculptures, and a plethora of food. It’s a great opportunity for students to take a break from studying and get together to enjoy good company and great food.

Throughout the days leading up to finals, different residential colleges offer study break activities, including food, games, and music. It’s another fun way to break up the monotony of studying and give students an outlet to de-stress and relax before their big exams.

Finals can be extremely stressful, so it’s comforting to know that colleges are working hard to ease the anxiety in fun and creative ways. Other colleges that offer unique finals week traditions include Barnard College, Menlo College, Regis University, Tufts University, UCLA, and Columbia University.

College students aren’t the only ones who deal with exams at the end of the semester. For many high school students, December is a big exam time. If you’re struggling with course material, or just need some help with organization and a study strategy, contact us today for more information on our premier tutoring services.

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