Point/Counterpoint: The lesser of two academic evils to end your year

You walk alone in life, just like you do in term papers. Own it.
by Andrew Jeffrey

As the year comes to a screeching, drawn out, seemingly never-ending halt of finals, the only solace I can take in these last few weeks is that I only have to worry about term papers and not final exams.

I know what most think. That 12-16 pages of writing is too much and that 3,000 words is an impossible task they couldn’t possibly handle. But if given the choice between a final paper or a final exam, I’ll take the paper every time.

It’s a lonely experience, writing that paper. Out on an island of your own individual topic that no one else is researching, you only have yourself to rely on. But that’s an important life lesson. After all, you’re going to die alone anyways.

When the second half of the term hits, I’d like to be able to tell myself that I’ll be fully prepared for any end-of-year test that comes my way. That I’ll study for weeks on end, go to every single class, keep diligent notes and start my papers and projects early on.

But five years of university has taught me to know myself better than that. As the final weeks of the term roll around, I’m usually scrambling to pull all the loose threads of barely-started projects together. At that point, the decision comes down to whether I want to try and cram for a test that I won’t even know the answers to for a class I’ve long since stopped paying attention to, or just pull a harmless all-nighter or three to write just one term paper.

Actually, nah, just kidding. I’m a great student.

Final exams bring misery, but misery loves group studying
by Josh Greschner

Both exams and research papers are academic assignments that should be reserved only for serial murderers at the University of Hell. This is an argument of the lesser of two evils.

It’s true that research papers are easier to slap together at the last minute: take a few quotes from different online papers, fill in a few thoughts that bring you to the next quote, then have a couple cigarettes, a few Red Bulls, then bomb out a few long sprawling paragraphs you won’t read over but will admire with the page zoomed out to 25 per cent.

The unparalleled stress of late night research paper causes hysteria, delusions and out-of-body experiences. It’s a lonely, desolate time.

At least the struggle is communal when studying for exams. It’s much easier to assemble a group of people who will chew through the fat of a course than listen to your half-incubated ideas that you falsely think will end in a good essay. At least while studying for an exam, two or more people can test each other, support each other and lose an equal amount of sleep together. Instead of climbing Mount Doom with your ugly, self-doubting, cancerous personality who only wants to corrupt to when you sleep, studying for an exam is like journeying with Samwise Gamgee. When the exam is over, you and Sam can laugh, cry on each other’s shoulders and despite enduring the most traumatic experiences of your short lives, two people studying for an exam can become the best of friends.

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