May 1, 2011
Visit a college campus at the right time in May (or December) and you're likely to see throngs of students converging on the library, others racing across the grounds carrying their "blue books" (for writing essay exams) and computer-scorable forms (for multiple-choice), and still others sitting on the floor in groups outside classrooms quizzing each other on concepts from a course they're about to complete.
What I'm referring to, of course, is final-exam week. For my roughly 30 years in higher education, from the beginning of my undergraduate studies at UCLA in Fall 1980 to my graduate studies at the University of Michigan to my current position as a professor at Texas Tech (which I've held for the last 14 years), I've known nothing but finals at the end of an academic term. I've thus been at both ends of the final-exam process and, as I sometimes quip, it's better to give than to receive!
Alan Reifman, Ph.D., is a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University.
(complete editorial available online)