Studying marathon for UI finals week


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Tori Garifo sat in a green chair on the third floor of the University of Iowa Main Library on Sunday around 5:30 p.m., marking almost six-straight hours of working on her research methods in psychology paper.

But dressed in a yellow Hawkeyes sweatshirt and gray sweatpants, the UI junior said she refuses to get stressed out by her three impending finals.

"I used to play field hockey and would have no time at all to study," Garifo said. "This is nothing."

For students such as Garifo who plan to study for hours on end this week, the Main Library is offering 24-hour access and, on Sunday, students seemed to occupy every available space the library had to offer.

In addition to the library's expanded hours, the IMU has added late-night movies at the Bijou and extra snacks for late-night studiers.

In the library Sunday evening, UI junior Chelsea Harris studied Health for Living for five hours on the third floor before moving on to Spanish II at 5 p.m. On the second floor, UI junior Thomas Kray drafted a critical essay for nonfiction, which he'd been working on since 3 p.m.

Monday is traditionally the busiest night for finals week, said Kristi Bontrager, the coordinator of public relations for the UI Libraries.

Of the estimated 2 million people who utilize the UI Main Library annually, Bontrager said finals week usually draws the largest crowds, which can lead to a shortage of study space.

"One reason it gets that way is because we have two other libraries on the second floor … that wouldn't normally be there," Bontrager said, referring to the Art and Music archives moved after the 2008 flood.

But if students can't find space at the Main Library, they might have better luck at the IMU, which is traditionally open 24-hours during finals, though has been open 24 hours for the last several months as well.

This year, students can take a break for a free Bijou movie at 2 a.m., said David Grady, the UI dean of students. He noted that late-night snacks are available — including coffee and popcorn — and they now include fruit for students looking for a healthier option while studying.

"Students have different studying styles," Grady said. "Some like groups, others like it quiet. The choice depends on the student."

UI senior John Felder sat on the IMU third floor, tucked away in the corner near the KRUI radio station, studying for a statistics exam. Just around the corner from Felder's table, students who couldn't find chairs sat on the floor in hallways to study.

Christina Johnson, a lecturer in health and sports studies, teaches a course titled Stress Management, and she encourages students get their time-management skills going early this week.

But combating the stress of taking tests and handing in papers is not as easy as making a schedule, Johnson said. Thoughts of having one's work evaluated can create great amounts of stress that some find hard to ignore, she said.

"If students really want an A in a class but consistently feel they can't get one, finals will be a high stress period for them," Johnson said.

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