Work. That summarises the activities I’ve had to focus on as of late. Five papers due in the span of two weeks? Check. An average of two exams per week for more than a month? Check. Five more (finals) in the span of 10 days? Check.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s been time to enjoy my stay here in Toronto as well. Plenty of time to get to know new people, see the sights, and in general enjoy life. But right now, the thing most on my mind, is that dreaded nebulous concept that doesn’t exist in all countries: Finals.
So lets talk a bit about finals. How this works at Ryerson is that, for most of your classes, you have a final exam that represent a certain percentage of your grade. The amount varies from class to class; whether the final is cumulative or not (whether it’s on everything in the entire class, or just on the material covered since your last exam) is also dependent largely on your subject of choice, but also on the specific class. The way, shape and form also changes. In essence, be aware that there are preferences and trends among different scholarly disciplines. For example, my own discipline (psychology) generally speaking only does non-cumulative finals (meaning my finals do not cover the entire course’s material, but just the things covered since the last exam I wrote).
As of the writing moment, my first final is tomorrow morning… and I’m quite stressed. I’m not anxious that I’ll do badly, mind, I’m just nervous because I want to get through this period of ten very intense days. Ironically enough, first up is a class final in stress management and coping. Go figure.
Now, another thing that’s important to consider for your final(s) is that there are no classes during the finals period. You can focus solely on your exams, which in my mind, comes both as a blessing and a curse. In some subject you will not have had time to cover everything in lectures, meaning the finals will rely more heavily on your reading comprehension and ability to memorise and internalise knowledge through reading course literature. For someone such as myself, who relies primarily on lectures as my most efficient form of knowledge acquisition, this is a bit of a bother. On the other hand, you need not be afraid that there will be a lack of time for reading. While the last day of classes is (this year) a mere two days before the finals period starts, the finals stretch on for a total of two weeks, and hopefully your finals will be spread out over this period, giving you many days to focus on reading and otherwise studying. That said, remember to take some breaks and enjoy yourself as well; you’ll be no good to yourself if you’re dead of mind and body when you finally sit down in your finals chair.
That said, the location of the chair is important. At Ryerson, quite a few exams are given on campus, but equally many are given at the MTCC; the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Due to the massive classes in some subjects, and the directive that people in the same class take the exam at the same time (to prevent cheating), as well as with a desire to make the finals period condensed and effective (who wants a two-month final period?), a lot of exams are housed in the MTCC. Ever wanted to do an exam in a room with 4000 other people at the same time? Here’s your chance. And no, it’s not optional.
As for finals exam times, they CAN run on weekends, and they CAN run both early and late. My earliest final is 09.00 – 11.00 (AM), and my latest 19.00-21.30 (that’s 7-9.30 PM, for you 12-hour-day people). As far as I know, that represents the whole spectrum of exams. And yes, you can have more than one exam per day. Yes, you can have as many as three on the same day; some of my best friends here in Toronto do. It’s a bummer, but at least you’ll be done quicker!
This update, while a while in coming, has been a lengthy one, and I wont drown you with more information. There’ll sadly be no update on the fraternities, as my investigation into the frat culture of Toronto sadly fell through due to another bout of influensa (yay, fun). However, I will be updating you on a few highlights and lovely activities in my next post: The Conclusion!
Stick around for a couple of more weeks, and you’ll find out how it all goes down. Until then, my friends, take care, be strong, and maple on!