Illustration by Raya Deussen

Please, make it stop: a guide to surviving LC final exams

*The Backdoor is a work of fiction and humor

By Stephen Hanley

December has arrived, darkening the skies over Portland with the first clouds of winter and heralding the months of rain to come. For Lewis & Clark students, the weather also announces the beginning of finals season. Students from Maggie’s to Watzek fret over textbooks and computers, rushing to prepare for their looming exams.

“I guess some people are pretty nervous, but I’m pretty sure everything’s gonna be fine,” Bill Billiamson ’21 said while clutching a stuffed rabbit close to his chest. “And even if it isn’t, at least Counseling Services is super easily accessible and financially secure, right? Right?”

For students lacking Billiamson’s bravado, The Backdoor is proud to present a finals survival guide. Whether you’re a hyperventilating freshman or a dead-eyed senior, here are five helpful tips to make it through the end of the semester.


  1. Carry a Pillow in your Backpack to Nap on the Go/Muffle your Screams

Packing a mobile pillow during finals season has a number of benefits. Catching some quick Z’s in Watzek is one obvious use, but creative students can also use their pillows to dampen frustrated wails and bellows. Look, finals are hard enough. You don’t need to make them harder by getting kicked out of the Bon for crying too loud. Slap a pillow on your kisser and deaden those shrieks.


  1. Channel your 2007 Britney to Stop Pulling Out Hair/Increase Art School Cred

If final exams send you into a fit, or you still don’t quite feel like you belong at LC, this is the tip for you. Just imagine: instead of attracting worried stares by ripping out clumps of hair and violently sobbing in Maggie’s, you could be attracting avant-garde hotties with cuffed pants to ask about your “sick new chop”. Make sure you don’t accidentally increase your workload by spending long hours in the ceramics lab!


  1. Call Your Parents 13 Times a Day

It’s important to remember that your hard work in college is a source of pride for your family. It’s also important to remind them how hard you’re working by calling home way too many times a day. This tip works best if your phone calls cover a broad emotional range: consider ending a conversation with your father on a cheery note before calling your mother in tears five minutes later. You won’t get any work done and you won’t feel much better, but you’ll enter the holiday season with gift-givers who know how much you’ve suffered.


  1. Start That Essay the Night Before It’s Due. It’ll Be Fine. Trust Me.

Remember high school, when you started all your projects seven hours before they were due? That turned out fine, right? I mean, it got you to LC! Your professors might have told you this won’t work in college, but what do they know? Trust me: it is absolutely okay to start that essay the night before. In fact, it’s preferable. I’m sure it will turn out super well. Way better than it would have if you’d managed your time well and started last week. Try it.


  1. Drop Out

Don’t pretend you weren’t already considering it. There’s absolutely no shame in taking a semester or two off to gather your thoughts, and with LC’s retention rate, hardly anyone will notice you’ve left. Besides, the planet’s going to be an inhospitable, Mad Max deathscape within the next fifteen years; why were you even bothering to get an education in the first place?

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