No dead week means dead students

by Rosie Brown

Why doesn’t Whitworth have a Dead Week? I was thinking about this long before my Facebook news feed blew up this week. For those of you who do not know what “Dead Week” implies, it is typically the week before final examinations where no classes are held or assignments are due, thus allowing students to dedicate as much time as they need to their term papers, projects, and study times for the last tests of the semester.

Dead Week (often known at other universities as “Hell Week”) generally has a negative connotation at practicing universities for the all-night study sessions, last-minute paper-writing and immense sleep deprivation. The irony is that Whitworth students already experience all these symptoms, in addition to having regular school assignments and classes! If anything, calling for a moratorium on scheduled classes and assignments may relieve the stress that comes with all-nighters and procrastinated studying time, because students may take that week before finals to actually focus on finals. Instead, Whitworth students often find themselves overwhelmed because they are pulling all-nighters for an important assignment due before they can even begin to think about pulling an all-nighter for their final exams, which typically account for 20%-40% of one’s course grade.

One objection may be that an extra week of no classes means more stress on professors to finish a week sooner. I agree, that is definitely a negative side-effect of Dead Week for professors and students alike. Due dates for pre-finals assignments would be pushed sooner, class material would be more condensed, and the average workload per week would most definitely be higher. Professors would only have to compensate for two to three omitted classes. It is possible that course material would have a higher retention rate by finals week, and it is possible that overall final exam scores would be higher as well. Term papers would be written with better quality, and more students would – perhaps – actually fill out Course Evaluations with the newly found time in Dead Week.

Another objection to Dead Week may be that it will actually increase stress levels for students because they are allowed to wait until the last minute to study and to write their term papers. As seen in USA Today, students at the University of West Virginia, where Dead Week is practiced, are pleading for the same thing. “Students don’t need to be babied and given special treatment; they just need a fair opportunity to succeed,” one student wrote in their college newspaper. “If a student doesn’t succeed in college, it should be on his or her own accord– not because he or she didn’t have enough time to study.”

In summary, Whitworth is a university that aims to train and educate its students in an “education of mind and heart.” Having a Dead Week would prevent any half-hearted efforts on schoolwork and exams by students.

Fun Facts:

Oklahoma University places couches scattered across campus for students during their Dead Week

At Yale University, an anonymous student group organizes a naked run through their school library, where many students study for their exams. The event is usually around midnight and the runners, who are typically drunk, give hand-made candy to their audience.

There is a “primal scream” tradition at Stanford University, in which students open their dormitory windows and scream at midnight every night of dead week.

At midnight of the first night before finals week begins, Columbia University students participate in a Spring Pillow Fight

(source Wikipedia “Dead Week” article; The Oklahoma Daily;

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