College may be the best four years of your life, but that idea is forgotten when finals week arrives, also known colloquially as “Hell Week.” Many students dread the days of 3 a.m. study sessions and 6 a.m. espresso shots. But, hey, stuff just needs to get done. Last week, I came across a video that had circulated the Internet of an Asian student responding to peers in the Cal State Northridge Library who were talking too loud. But, from the footage, you can’t really tell what in fact triggered her reaction.

The comments made about the vid ranged from defensive (“I can’t stand when people be talking in the library!”) to ignorant (“GIRL! YOU DISHONOR YOUR FAMILY!!”). And the media has not helped to put the situation into perspective. Just by outlets calling her response a “freakout” makes it seem as if the girl was about to light the library on fire (not to mention, this just further perpetuates the jarring intelligent-aggressive Asian student stereotype).

While many people are able to endure the situation or simply laugh it off, few ever talk about the amount of stress students have during this intense 4-year academic journey. Yes, the parties can be fun. And, the unexpected forms of validation (“I just finished studying for that quiz like 3 hours ago and still got an A…and what?”) are great for kicks. But, the overwhelming pressure students undergo, especially during the semester’s final week when 4-page papers and group projects are due and cumulative exams are given simultaneously, can cause mental problems and make some consider suicide. In addition, as students of color, the pressure to balance academic responsibilities with pressure from part-time jobs, sports teams or even devoted relatives is not easy.

Even with the counseling services available on many college campuses nationwide, some students cannot help but to feel the burden of deadlines, baggy eyes and last minute cramming. So, can we really blame a girl for wanting other students to quiet down so she (and the other students seen in the video) can concentrate?

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  • Ginger

    I never really experienced finals stress until I got into grad school. Undergrad was a breeze enough in spite of the fact that I had difficult classes. During my first year of grad school, my body shut down and I couldn’t sleep. It was a difficult time but thankfully it was so much better this year.

    I think working out really saved me this time (going to zumba and kickboxing). If anyone is freaking out, I’d suggest eating tons of fruits and veggies, working out, and taking breaks. You aren’t a robot, treat your body right.