Pragmatic Perspective: Finals week is preparation for real life

As the end of the semester nears, we’re finding ourselves in a similar boat. A boat weighed down by finals, group research projects and presentations, research papers and all of the other typical time-consuming activities of life. I myself have two major papers due within the next week, three finals to study for and a group presentation, all along with work and keeping the mrs. happy.

Now, this is not to gloat, because I know that practically all of us are dealing with similarly busy schedules, but it is to demonstrate that I know what it is like to be busy. I hear complaints about the workload, or whining about needing to work with a group on a project. I too have found myself bellyaching about such hardships, but the fact of the matter is that the last few weeks of the semester prepare us for real life!

I have always enjoyed working on my own, especially when it comes to schoolwork. I don’t attend study groups, I don’t like to work on homework with classmates, nor do I love doing group projects and presentations. In spite of my personal feelings, I understand the vital experience that group projects can offer. As much as we might dislike it, the fact remains that the majority of life, and, more specifically, our future careers, will involve working with others and working as a group. Whether it’s in the marketing department, on the sales floor or teaching a classroom of kids, there is always going to be an element of group work. These end-of-semester group projects help us problem-solve with others, deal with other people’s personalities, and teach us how to sometimes swallow our pride and do what is necessary for success. I don’t love it, but the professors who assign constructive group projects have the right idea.

Final papers or studying for finals can prepare us for the real world in many different ways. Life, specifically a career, is full of deadlines, multitasking, speed-reading and fact-finding. I can’t think of a single career that doesn’t require at least some level of studying. Whether it’s studying the manual so that you can become forklift-certified or studying for the state bar exam, there is always going to be studying involved in our careers. When it comes to deadlines, you typically can’t work out alternate arrangements with an employer who demands results, like you can with a kindhearted professor. If your boss wants that proposal on his or her desk at 4 o’clock on Wednesday, it better be there or it could very well cost you your job. Much like if you’re not prepared for your final, or you haven’t drafted your final paper in time and there are no exceptions, then it very well could cost you the ‘A’ grade you were hoping for.

As stressful and tiresome as the end of the semester is for each of us, we need to understand that it is some of the best experience we can gain to prepare us for life beyond Weber State University. Our success in our projects, finals and research papers, I would argue, is an accurate indication of how far we will go and how successful we will be in life. So rather than whimpering and whining, let’s embrace the stress of these final weeks of the semester and prove that we’ve got what it takes to conquer anything that life throws our way.