Finals Are Upon Us

By: Mary Gabe ’15

Senior Mary Gabe

Senior Mary Gabe

Here we are, less than a week from the start of exams. I have no idea where this semester went. I would like it back, please.

It’s no secret that W&L’s academics are some of the toughest around, and the final stretch is when things get especially crazy. Papers, projects, presentations, we do it all – and then we get to take our exams.

The silver lining comes to us in the form of Washington and Lee’s Honor Code, a commitment we all make to never lie, cheat, or steal. This means that our exams are un-proctored and self-scheduled. Some departments stick to time slots offered daily and set locations for exam taking, while others hand out tests to be completed wherever and whenever we choose. Either way, we’re trusted to take our exams honestly.

Sometimes, we forget that this is unusual. Most students don’t have the luxury of taking exams in the order of their choosing, at their own pace. Most schools would never even consider administering tests without supervision. For us, this is the norm. Add that to the long list of reasons we love W&L.

Even with the ability to plan our own exam schedules, the end of the semester is daunting. Throw in the swim team’s rigorous training, and we are pushed to the limit at the moment.

We climbed onto the bus Friday morning for the Randolph-Macon Invitational feeling sore, stressed, and sleep-deprived. This was expected. What was unexpected, what makes this team extraordinary, was how we showed up to the pool. We had every excuse to let our exhaustion take over, but at our very core, we are competitors. We arrived home late Saturday night with meet, team, and ODAC records, not to mention all the personal-best times and wins for both teams.

As a senior, you would think that I expect this by now, but it never stops being incredible. This team never ceases to amaze me. Proud doesn’t begin to explain how I feel about my teammates.

Give us all you’ve got, finals, because we love a challenge.

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