December 01, 2011
Dead Week: Start a Tradition
Alpha Gamma Rho
NOS. Red Bull. Coffee. Caffeine. All-nighters. Oh, the joys of the longest two weeks of every semester. Dead week, although a diluted precursor to finals week, signals the beginning of the end for many students… the end of sleep, fun, laughter- aside from the 4:45 a.m. delirious cackling (if that can pass as laughter)— and perhaps the end of any indication of happiness. Surprisingly, a vast congregation of students find this week to be not-so-gracious with term papers, lab practicals, and many last minute assignments due. To those of you who have been surprised by the knowledge of such occurrences, consider this a wake-up call to glance through the syllabus that you likely never read.
Many students utilize Dead Week (or "Pre-Finals Week’" as the university refers to it) for all that it is worth, not wasting a single precious minute to break from learning everything that should have been accumulated over the course of the entire semester- curse you, comprehensive exams! For every student who does take advantage of this grace week, there are probably five who waste it doing every contrary of studying.
With the aid of the ever-reliable source of our generation, Urban Dictionary, Dead Week is defined as such:
At any major collegeor university, the week before finals are administered and most major projects and assignments are due for submission. The late night working and hardcore studying for finals gives the students a zombie like atmosphere, and causes an eerie silence and many blank, unseeing expressions.
A week-long holiday in which the university try to juke students in to believing its a concentrated study period, when actually its a time for professors to give out as many exams as they can; also known as the week holiday professors enjoy to sit back, laugh and torment students... modern-day name: "Professor Bullyism."
Be assured, we are not alone. As surprising as it may seem, other colleges have dead week too. With some quick research on the subject, I compiled a list of several unique Dead Week traditions across the country, and ranked them in order of personal amusement. Enjoy.
At Penn State University, students run down Mifflin Street naked the weekend before finals to relieve stress. One can only wonder if Jerry Sandusky was the innovator behind this.
At Young Harris College students walk the entire length of the campus front wall. If a student falls off or doesn't complete the walk then they must start from the beginning. Also, a tradition states that if a student steps on the seal on the plaza then they will fail their exams.
As humorous as the scenario and as admirable as the university’s efforts are to insure studying, let’s not allow this to become an issue at Oklahoma State. At the University of Colorado at Boulder, the university administrators canceled the week-long “reading period” after it became apparent that students were partying instead of studying.
At Marist College, during the fall semester, the college's annual charity Giving Tree – a 30-foot indigenous pine in center campus – is lit with nearly 50,000 lights on the Saturday of Dead Week. Conversely, the spring semester, "Senior Week" refers to the week between the end of finals and Commencement. "River Fest," held on Marist's bank of the Hudson River, typifies the tenor of the week, featuring fireworks, music, and refreshments; River Fest is widely viewed as an event where graduating seniors see their professors for the last time, as sad of a time as that can be.
At the University of Southern California, the Spirit of Troy performs nightly in front their Library, usually marching and running through the reflecting pool in front of the library, and aiming and playing their instruments toward students studying inside. During the final week of classes in the spring semester, graduating seniors run through every one of the school's various fountains in a tradition known as the "Fountain Run."
Every midnight, one tradition of Georgia Tech sees that every student in the library receives free donuts and energy drinks.
At Carnegie Mellon University, the primal scream happens at the Fence the night before the finals period starts and is accompanied by a barbecue. Free coffee is even offered at many locations.
At Columbia University, students open their windows at midnight and scream as loudly as possible on the Sunday of finals week each semester, popularly known as the Primal Scream. The tradition helps students release their pent up stress and anxiety about exams. Primal scream also extends across several other campus including Harvard University, Stanford University, Davidson College, The Citadel, the United States Naval Academy, Georgia Tech (Midnight Madness), Michigan State University (The Midnight Screamings), Drake University, Cornell University, and Sonoma State University (The Sonoma Scream) and the list goes on.
Although this is a very short list, many spins of the aforementioned traditions are customary at many other universities that were not listed. Now, having ventured across America and the diverse, outlandish, creative ideas that exist within various collegiate atmospheres, I extend a challenge to you, OK State Greeks. What traditions will you invent?
I do HIGHLY encourage that it be something appropriate which will in no way reflect poorly upon anyone, especially Oklahoma State or Greek life. With that said, let those wheels start turning, be a pioneer— no, this is not a S-T-I-L-L-H-2-O High School reference— do something original, fun, and, to once more stress, LEGAL. Whatever ideas you come up with, I encourage you to spread the word. Perhaps you already have a tradition in place, if so, then same scenario, share it. If it catches on, maybe I won’t have to think about what to write about in my next article?
Mitchell is a sophomore studying biochemistry and molecular Biology. You may contact him at mitchell.earl@Okstate.edu.