For many, finals come on final day

Many students with finals on Dec. 22 are unhappy with the idea of staying in Foggy Bottom until just three days before Christmas.

The University released its end-of-semester schedule two weeks ago, leaving GW’s inhabitants two months to make travel plans for winter break. Now, some students are complaining that they learned about their finals later than usual and also have a high frequency of tests on Dec. 22, the last day for final exams.

“I live 3,000 miles away from here and I won’t be able to fly out until the 23rd, which is two days before Christmas,” said Sam Sadle, a sophomore who is traveling to India for his winter break. “On top of that, if they were to ask us to buy tickets now for two days before Christmas, it is almost impossible, and you’ll be spending upwards of a $1,000.”

Earlier this semester, the University officials said they were cracking down on professors who give final exams on regular class days. Sadle, who has three final exams on Dec. 22, said this year’s final exam schedule has been counterproductive for officials’ goals.

“My political geography professor was so mad that they gave them a final on the last day that he decided to give a final on the last day of classes – the exact opposite of what GW wanted him to do,” he said.

Albert Fonticiella, a sophomore from Arkansas, said he is upset that he will need to come back to GW on Jan. 18 with less than a month’s time off.

“My last final is December 22nd at 5 p.m. I am a little bit angry because I don’t get to spend as much time with my parents … whereas other students get off for more than a month,” he said.

Nearby Catholic, Howard, Georgetown and American universities and the University of Maryland all published final exam dates by their respective first day of class. But GW delayed publication of its finals schedule because of new bands of class times implemented this fall, Craig Linebaugh, associate vice president for Academic Planning and Special Projects, said.

“The Academic Scheduling Office creates the most equitable schedule it can given the information that it has available to it,” Linebaugh wrote in an e-mail last week.

“I think it is naive to think that any final exam schedule will make all students and faculty happy. Unless students are willing to take three or even four finals on the same day, the final exam period will continue to extend over eight days of exams.”

Generating this semester’s mid-December schedule was a labor-intensive undertaking and was influenced by construction in Funger Hall, which has made dozens of classrooms temporarily unusable, Linebaugh said.

Linebuagh said he did not know how many final exams will be held on Dec. 22, but added that there is no possibility that the University will change the schedule.

“Changing the schedule once it has been distributed would further limit people’s ability to book flights and other travel arrangements,” Linebaugh wrote. “As a result, I expect that there will be no changes in the schedule.”

Some students said they are upset that the University is not considering a revised end-of-semester schedule.

“Considering we’re paying so much, we should have some sort of say in what is going on,” said Dan DeCurtis, a sophomore who has to wait 15 days after classes end to take a test on Dec. 22. “If you go to a state school you don’t get a lot of input, but we invest a lot into this school and they just sort of throw us around, without any consideration for our lives.”

GW is not alone in closing shop three days before Christmas: AU wraps up final exams on Dec. 22 as well. Howard finishes the earliest of all universities in the District, with its last day on Dec. 17.

But Sadle said he is still frustrated, since he was only recently told that his plans to go to India would have to be changed.

“Really they are just not organized,” he said. “So they planned and decided that with the renovation of Funger Hall they had to move classes and finals around … but I just don’t know why the University can’t get it together to tell us earlier.”

“Its just so ridiculous considering that we go to school in D.C., no one lives in D.C. really, and going home is expensive,” DeCurtis said.

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