How to Survive Exam Week... and therefore survive anything

Last Sunday evening everyone returned from their refreshing Thanksgiving break, and were prepared to begin exams. Yet the beginning of exams week would not be exciting without some surprises, such as a raccoon causing a campus-wide power outage. Losing power around 6:30pm on Sunday, we did not get it back till around noon the next day.
Although this caused a huge setback, such as cancelling Service Learning presentations, Undergraduate Research Symposium day, and any other campus events. Students persevered and still found ways to complete their papers, trifolds, and presentations. Emergency lights lit parts of campus, and students sought those areas out. Although power had to be conserved on laptops, phones, and other electronic devices, we all managed. After all, we are seriously creative. Yet the creativity did not stop there. 

Once the power came back on, it was clear that exams were upon us. For most students this meant the final push to get that great grade, stay up all night, ace that three hour exam, all while managing stress levels the best they can. 
Thankfully, campus and its faculty does the best it can do to ensure that students allow themselves some study breaks. After all, your brain needs to have some fun. 

Here are the events and their information:
Tuesday, December 3 (Reading Day - no classes, just time for students and their books)
- Therapy Dogs: These dogs came to campus two evenings in a row in the student union, allowing students to pet, hug, and de-stress with them. For all of the students without pets on-campus that miss their furry friends back home, this was a wonderful way to feel like they were home again. There were numerous breeds, from big dogs such as yellow labs, and smaller dogs such as schnauzers. It was obvious that each student gravitated towards certain dogs and stayed there most of the event. For instance I have a border collie at home and was thrilled to see one there.

Wednesday, December 4 (First Day of Exams)
- Exam Breakfast: Every year on the first night of exams, from 8:30pm-10:30pm, the cafeteria opens its doors to the entire student population, allowing them to come for hot breakfast foods, karaoke, and a time to relax. The added twist is that the food is served by faculty members. This means that the same professor who may be giving you an exam in a few days may be first giving you a hot biscuit and some strawberries. Needless to say, the event was packed. The way students line up outside the cafeteria in anticipation is closer in excitement to a concert than a breakfast. My friends and I got there at 7:50pm to wait in line, and by 8:05, the line wrapped around the bend, and past the entrance to the student union building next door. The evening was filled with delicious foods such as pastries, pancakes, fruit, and biscuits. All this food was served with karaoke performed by students. It was a great way to unwind and catch up with friends. 

Thursday, December 5 
- RA Trip to Chocolate Lounge and "Elf" Movie Night: Resident Assistants (RAs) have the power to help students on their hall as much as possible. During exam week it is crucial for RAs to make sure their residents are not having a difficult time. My RA decided to take me, and her other residents on a trip to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and then host a movie night for "Elf". Who doesn't love chocolate and some holiday cheer with Will Ferrell?

Friday, December 6 
- Rented movie from library for my own movie night with friends: The library is a great place for studying, finding books, or getting a quick snack at the cafe. What a lot of people do not realize though is that you can rent movies, other than documentaries, from the library too! Movie titles available range from the "Iron Man" series to "Monty Python". My friends and I decided on "Silver Linings Playbook". Rentals are for three days. 

*Week Long Events* 
- Highsmith Study Spaces and Study Snacks: Want an area other than the library or your dorm room to study where you will not be bothered? Want late hours with free snacks available? Highsmith, the student union, offered numerous rooms with couches and desks for study spaces during exams. The building was also kept open till 3:30am and various snacks were offered such as coffee, hot chocolate, granola, and cookies. 

Overall, campus came together to make exam week as painless as possible. I am so thankful that I go to a school where these activities are made available and that we also have an exam schedule that is bearable. UNC Asheville is the only public university that only has exams on weekdays. Other universities, such as UNC Chapel Hill, have exams on Saturdays because their campus is so large they need the extra days to fit all the exam times in. 

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