Where is finals week?

Zoe Deno
Staff Writer

This is Hudson Valley’s second year without a finals week and students still have a lot to say about it.

“A lot of the time, because finals are given in [the last week of instruction], students are still learning new information while they are trying to review for the final exam,” said Taylor Greklek, a business administration major. “Students have the problem of learning new concepts with finals hanging over their heads.”

In 2015, the Faculty Student Association voted on a new contract that included the cutting of finals week. This aspect of the contract was heavily debated, but ultimately passed. Hudson Valley is the only college in the Capital Region that does not include a week specifically for finals.

Dennis Kennedy, Director of Communications at the college, said that the board voted to eliminate finals week because students were upset they did not have a spring break. Snow days have also pushed back final exams so that they were too close to the holidays.

The college did not get rid of final exams. The final exams are simply given during the last week of classes, instead of having a week devoted entirely to taking the tests.

“Not having a finals week makes things more [unorganized] among the student body. You are having finals and final unit exams within two weeks of each other,” said nursing student Valentina Savola. “It really affects my grade badly, I feel like I have to focus on everything at once,” she said.

Greklek, who has taken classes at UAlbany, said that he has had 3 finals in one day at Hudson Valley. At UAlbany, if a student has three finals scheduled in one day they are instructed to reschedule one with an instructor. The instructor is required to allow them to do this.
“You could know the material you are being tested on, but if you have three two-hour tests in one day, there is no way you will do well on all of them,” he said.

Florence Parmelee attended Hudson Valley Community college twice. She graduated with an associates in Human Services in 2010 when there was still a finals week. She graduated again in 2017 with an Environmental Science Degree and is currently taking some classes she needs for graduate program without a finals week.

“The necessity of having a final exam week definitely depends on the major. When I was a Human Services major, we did not need a finals week,” Parmelee said.

When Parmelee was a human services major, she had a class that concluded with a final project. The last two weeks of classes were devoted to finals. She presented her project on the first day and her teacher told her she had completed the course and no longer had to come to class.
“Now, as a science major, not having final exam week means cramming our material into one less week and doing things like we are doing where we have a last unit test after the final,” Parmelee said. “The final is supposed to be just that: final.”

“In my previous major, one less week might have cramped a tiny bit, but in the sciences we are cutting material out,” Parmelee said. She worries it will affect the transferability of her credits.

Lennox DeGrasse, a computer information systems major, also attended Hudson Valley while there was still a finals week. “Hudson Valley’s need for a finals week depends of what a student is studying. I remembered it helped out a lot with studying.” He doesn’t feel like it would benefit him this semester, though, because his classes are easier.

DeGrasse thinks it would be nice if the college had a finals week, but not at the expense of spring break. “I need that time to chill,” he said.

“I’m happy I don’t have to stay at school another week,” Mercedes Barnes, a Digital Media student, said. Barnes said that instructors are only losing between 3 and 4 hours of instruction. She says it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

It is not guaranteed that Hudson Valley will never have a finals week again. The faculty will reevaluate the contract in 2020. Until then, students will have one less week of instruction.

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