Tag Archives: finals

A Parents’ Survival Guide for Finals

Photo courtesy UT Division of Student Affairs.
Photo courtesy UT Division of Student Affairs.

Imagine this — your student just returned to campus from Thanksgiving Break and realized that finals are just around the corner.  What do they do?  Panic?  Eat more mashed potatoes or pie and try to forget about it?  I’ll never argue with more pie, but when your student calls to talk about this stressful time, tell them that instead of panicking or eating their feelings, they can take advantage of services offered within the libraries.

University Writing Center at PCL.
University Writing Center at PCL.

PCL houses several partner organizations who offer great services to students:

  • The Writing Center (in PCL) offers help at any point in the writing process.  Tell your student that good writers seek feedback!  Appointments here
  • The Sanger Center’s Public Speaking Center is now open in PCL – their consultants can offer suggestions on any presentation or speech assignment.  Appointments here  
  • Tutoring for intro-level Calculus, Biology, and Chemistry courses is now available in PCL’s UFCU room.  See the schedule

Help at the desk.

The UT Libraries house many new services for students, but librarians have always been available to help with research.  Students can ask us questions about finding sources of information, about choosing or narrowing a topic, about when and how to cite sources, and about which sources of information are credible.  We are available to help in several ways.  Your student can:

If your student has an assignment that involves technology, we can help with that too!  They can:  

We know that finals are stressful, so we want to help with your student’s work AND help them de-stress.  With dogs!  We have therapy dog study breaks a few times at the end of the semester:

Kona from Austin Dog Alliance.

Students in De-stress

Poppy the labrador retriever from Austin Dog Alliance

Again this year, the Libraries took measures to help our hardworking students survive the end of another (or for some, a first) academic school year by providing some de-stressors during the weeks leading up to finals.

As papers and projects came due and the looming shadow of finals all but enveloped the collective population of the campus, we were again fortunate to have a ready partner in Austin Dog Alliance who was willing to provide a much-needed visit by their four-legged staff members, and whose mere presence can be diversion enough to lighten the mood and reorient Longhorns in the throes of all-nighters and marathon cram sessions.

Along with pups, facilities project manager Frank Meaker amassed a new collection of whiteboard drawings from throughout the PCL over the spring semester, and we gathered those on our Flickr account to document this season of the spontaneous art therapy that provides yet another momentary escape from the serious rigor that occurs in service of developing the next generation of leaders at the UT campus. (More about the whiteboards at the UT Tumblr.)

The Indicators of Art Attack

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If you happen to be entering PCL early in the morning and you’re met at the doors by bleary-eyed, disheveled students exiting the building, it’s probably a good bet that it’s again finals time at UT.

It also means that a combination of long hours poring over texts and notes from a full semester, a deficit of sleep and natural anxiety has created fertile loam for budding artistic expression in the form of doodles, badinage and a few outright masterpieces on the collection of whiteboards that are scattered across the library’s six floors.

Frank Meaker has continued to catalog these transitory works in his daily meanderings about PCL, and now that the end of the semester is nigh, we offer a selection of the spring’s finest examples via the Libraries Flickr page for your viewing enjoyment.

The Pains of Being Pure at Art

Hopeful thinking in the face of finals?

Crushing despair and anxiety has once again produced the perfect conditions for spontaneous creativity at PCL as the Fall semester comes to a close.

Frank Meaker has been at work again this year cataloging the random acts of artistic expression on the whiteboards throughout our flagship branch at the university as students nest for extended hours amongst the stacks in preparation for end-of-semester finals and projects.

Note the increase this year in motivational statements and encouragement from authors/artists to their fellow students. Sometimes shared suffering brings out the best in people, though we prefer to think that this is just in line with the character of the Longhorn community.

For posterity and enjoyment, see the complete set at the Libraries Flickr page.

UPDATE – BONUS: Seems the whiteboards aren’t the only creative outlet for students during finals; they’ve found a medium in YouTube, as well.

Back to the Drawing Board…

We’re in the thick of it again with the looming end of the semester and the approaching zero-hour for projects and exams driving long nights and early mornings around the Libraries.

That also signals the return of whiteboard art, the spontaneous creative fits resulting from a combination of stress, anxiety, exhaustion and some small degree of relief that the end – be it affirmative or not – is nigh.

You can view a slide show of the finer examples of this phenomenon captured by our own Frank Meaker at the University’s Know website or at the Libraries Flickr page.

BONUS STACKS DISCOVERY:

A student “settles in for the long haul” on 5th floor of the PCL.

A Medium for Expression

whiteboardThe end of the school year can be a liberating time for much of the population of the university. Most students get an extended break from the rigors of learning, or they complete a successful college career and move on to the next phase of life. Faculty transition from honing lectures and grading papers to scholarly or research pursuits, or just take some time to recuperate from teaching consecutive semesters. And for staff it generally means shorter lines, less traffic and time to catch up on all the projects that went on the back burner during the school year.

This nascent liberation can sometimes spur creative bursts as there are the beginnings of a collective exhale across the campus. Being on the front lines as we are when the library becomes a strategic center for student end-of-year projects and finals, we sometimes get the opportunity to witness, or even document, this extraordinary behavior.

We recorded two such examples just last week. Continue reading