Finals Week Syndrome
*THIS POST IS SATIRICAL. ENJOY THE LAUGH. DO NOT TAKE AS SERIOUS MEDICAL ADVICE.*
At the end of every quarter, an alarming number of students around the world experience symptoms of an illness known as Finals Week Syndrome (FWS).
This ailment has received little-to-no attention as a serious medical condition. However, many are familiar with its symptoms- either by experiencing FWS directly, or by watching as a loved one withers away under its influence.
The presentation of FWS in patients can be worrying to family and friends, but little has been done to understand or study the condition.
The scope of this paper will be limited to defining FWS as a medical condition and providing a model of behavior that reflects the case of a typical FWS patient.
Signs and Symptoms
FWS presents with a wide variety of symptoms and clinical signs that include but are not limited to:
the exam uniform (for more information, please consult the world’s foremost expert on exam uniforms, Natalie Raies, future O.D. ’18)
an expression of dread, fear or loathing that intensifies as the week progresses, or a general loss of facial expression
a complete sense of apathy towards reading of any kind
dark circles under the eyes and pale skin (indicative of early stage FWS)
a listless gait reminiscent of zombification (indicative of moderate FWS)
catatonia (rare, but indicative of end stage FWS)
sudden bouts of panic and emotional turmoil
a dependence on caffeine in order to maintain basic bodily and mental functions
the development of a sudden and uncharacteristic interest in new hobbies
Recovery from FWS is as sudden as its onset. Patients typically report feeling normal again following a 24 hour recovery period characterized by a deep slumber, although this recovery period may last as long as 72 hours. Similarities have been noted between this recovery phase and hibernation.
Below you will find the detailed observations of an anonymous patient, whom we will refer to as Delta.
The following takes place between Oct 31st and Nov 7th.
Oct 31st – day 1 Sleep: 8 Hours Breakfast: Cereal with milk Lunch: Black Forest Ham sandwich Dinner: Home cooked rice, chicken, and vegetables
Subject Delta appears to have been well prepared for the pharmacology exam and was unfazed upon its completion. Delta remarks that “it was aight.”
Nov 1st – day 2 Sleep: 6 Hours Breakfast: Cereal with milk, apple, cup of coffee Lunch: Take out ; Chi Cafe Dinner: Leftovers; Chi Cafe
Subject Delta does not appear to have an exam today and appears to be working diligently in between sessions of rest and relaxation. Delta remarks that “Finals week is like a marathon. You have to pace yourself so you don’t burn out too quickly.”
Nov 2nd – day 3 Sleep: 6 Hours Breakfast: Cereal with milk, banana, cup of coffee Lunch: Black Forest Ham sandwich Dinner: Leftovers; Chi Cafe
Subject Delta appears to have an optics exam today. Upon its completion, he remarked “two down, four to go.” Delta was observed binge watching TV shows. Delta proceeded to study at 8:15 PM.
Nov 3rd – day 4 Sleep: 4.5 Hours Breakfast: Coffee Lunch: Leftovers; Chi Cafe Dinner: Leftovers; Chi Cafe
Upon completion of his optometry exam, Subject Delta went to take a nap. After lunch, he proceeded to study for a half hour. Subject Delta then proceeded to watch TV shows. Delta returned to studying at 9:00 PM. This only lasted 15 minutes, after which, Delta gave up and played video games. It was noted that Subject Delta did not have an exam the following day.
Nov 4th – day 5 Sleep: 6 Hours Breakfast: Cereal with milk, cup of coffee Lunch: Take out; Chi Cafe Dinner: Leftovers; Chi Cafe
Subject Delta proceeded to play video games following breakfast. At 9:00 PM, Delta began to study. Delta was observed napping at his desk at 9:21 PM. Delta was observed browsing Facebook at 9:44 PM. Delta was observed browsing the Internet at 10:11 PM. Delta was observed studying at 12:11 AM.
Nov 5th – day 6 Sleep: 3 Hours Breakfast: Two cups of coffee Lunch: Leftovers; Chi Cafe Dinner: Leftovers; Chi Cafe
Subject Delta appeared to be shaken up following his Ocular Physiology exam. Delta was observed studying in the library. He returned home after 5 hours. Subject Delta proceeded to study with varying amounts of success until he passed out on the couch.
Nov 6th – day 7 Sleep: 3 Hours Breakfast: Two cups of coffee Lunch: Leftovers; Chi Cafe Dinner: Leftovers; Chi Cafe
Subject Delta completed his Ocular Motility exam and walked out of the exam room in a trance-like state. Efforts to communicate with Subject Delta were unsuccessful. Delta proceeded to take a nap at home. At 11:46 AM, Subject Delta awoke shouting in a rage. He ran out of his apartment at 11:48 AM after abruptly grabbing pencils from his backpack. Delta returned at 11:54 AM looking very displeased. He explained “I thought I missed my exam and was going to school to ask for a retake.” The rest of the day was unremarkable.
Nov 7th – day 8 Sleep: 3 Hours Breakfast: Milk with cereal, two cups of coffee Lunch: Leftovers; Chi Cafe Dinner: Leftovers; Chi Cafe
Subject Delta spent the morning studying. At 4:00 PM, Delta proceeded to take the exam for Binocular Vision. After the exam, Delta proceeded to his room and did not leave for several days.
Upon questioning, Subject Delta did not recall any detail from finals week.
Subject Delta’s case is very typical of FWS sufferers around the world. Clearly, a comprehensive understanding of FWS is necessary in order to better serve students around the world and their families. We hope that more research will follow in the future.