BU Today

Campus Life

How Not to Study: Students Confess

Tips and techniques for getting over the finals hump

It’s finals time at Boston University. Sleep-deprived undergrads prowl Commonwealth Avenue for late-night snacks. Dorm rooms have never been cleaner; facebook.com has never been more scoured. Computer cursors are blinking and books and highlighters are assembled and waiting — and waiting. It’s almost Newtonian in its logic: the more we have to study, the more we want to put it off. And while everybody procrastinates, there’s nothing like the intense pressures of academia to raise time-wasting to a high art.

On a recent evening, BU Today ventured across campus — from the George Sherman Union to the basement of the College of Communication — to see how students grapple with impending exams and final projects. With the notable nose-to-the-grindstone exception of engineering students, most were more than happy to look up from their laptops for a moment and tell us how, at this time of year, time becomes a flexible, amorphous thing, capable of being diverted to bathtub clothes washing, random Web searches, and staring contests with goldfish. Many students had already pulled all-nighters, and as the night wore on, a few appeared to be headed that way again. As one senior described his last few days, “I’ve seen the sunrise more than I’d like to.”