Edina High School must change its finals schedule


Olivia Wegmann-Krider

An EHS Student studies for finals during the annual Cocoa & Cram event.

Finals are one of the semester’s most stressful times for both students and teachers. Students spend hours studying information that dates back to the beginning of the school year. Teachers and staff are weighed down with the stress of getting grading finished and entered into the grade book by the end of the semester. Every year, Edina High School students have to carry the stress of finals into their winter break. As a result, students are not given a real break.

Although Edina High School requires that teachers do not assign homework over winter break, students still feel pressure to continue their studies as finals are just weeks away. A time of unwinding and spending time with friends and family is turned into a crunched two weeks of panicked studying. A study by the Princeton Alumni Weekly found that 81% of undergraduates felt that finals after break made them feel stressed and 79% felt that they spent less time with family.

As a high school sophomore, I have felt first-hand the stress of finals after break and the effects on my mental health. Coming back from break I felt loaded with more anxiety and dread as I knew that loads of studying and tests were coming my way. I couldn’t help but wonder how my mental health would have been different if finals were before winter break. Many of my classmates similarly expressed how winter break did not feel like an actual break as they spent much of their time preparing for future finals and reviewing course material. Although it is supposed to be a “no homework holiday,” unwanted pressure is placed on students to continue their academic studies throughout break in order to keep up with class materials.

However, some argue that winter break is a viable time set aside for students to have additional study time for their finals. This optimistic idea is false. Studying over finals is extremely challenging and draining. Teachers and staff usually close their emails and are not available for questions. This leaves students alone and frustrated as they struggle to study content from earlier lessons. Having finals before break would allow for students to maximize their resources at school while also giving teachers more opportunities to help students prepare for the exams. Students would also be able to experience a real winter break and would come back for the second semester refreshed and ready for learning.

Although winter break provides a set amount of time for studying and schoolwork, many would much rather enjoy time with family and friends while also focusing on their mental health. Allowing for finals to be done before winter break will help many students to be given the real break that they deserve. Overall, it is crucial to give students time for relaxation and decompression over break in order for them to be successful in the long term.