Monday marked the beginning of the last week of classes before finals, commonly known as “dead week.” Some students use the week to hunker down in the library. Some opt to spend their last full week basking in the sun and enjoying all campus has to offer.
The term “dead week” is used on college campuses across the country, but students’ ideas differ on where it came from.
Officially, IU’s last week of classes is called “free week,” according to Bloomington Faculty Council policy. The week is supposed to be free of any major exams, and projects can only be due if they were assigned well in advance, according to the website.
Some students say things don’t always work out that way.
Junior Katie Laiman spent most of her Monday evening studying in between bookshelves at Wells Library. She said she knew better than to assume dead week would be actually dead.
“Everyone’s just miserable,” she said.
Laiman didn’t have any exams this week, she said, but had to work on two group presentations for later this week. She said she would rather have an exam or two, though.
“Working on the presentations is frustrating because I have to meet with my groups, and it’s hard to schedule,” she said. “It’s like a small road block before finals."
Sophomore Marek Mayes sat in a hammock in Dunn's Woods on Monday afternoon reading the book “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis. He said he brought the book with him to prepare for an exam he has Thursday while still trying to enjoy the 70-degree weather.
“I haven’t even started reading yet, though,” he said about 20 minutes after setting up his hammock. “I’m starting to fall asleep.”
Mayes said in his experience, only upper-level classes tend to obey the guidelines of not having exams during the week. Sometimes, if the students are lucky, class will be canceled entirely, he said.
Freshman Logan Young still had to attend class Monday but said he otherwise didn’t have much work to do, so he spent his free time sitting near the Jordan River next to Ballantine Hall, dipping his feet in the creek.
He was wearing water shoes, he said, so they were meant to get wet.
Young said he thought it was called dead week because students study so much it makes them appear dead.
He still had a few projects to finish up, but this semester was better than last, when he had seven finals.
The clock was ticking. Within 10 minutes or so, Young would have to walk to his 4 p.m. class and start working on his projects again.
But at least, he said, his shoes would be dry.