Here is an interesting note about the French University system. There, our holiday break would happen two weeks before finals. Isn’t that great. The scheme is very conducive to procrastination. I am not a procrastinator but still manage to want to study one or two things in further depth by the time finals rolls around. Just to have the added edge when taking final exams. If it is still not clear let me explain.
At the Sorbonne, Christmas breaks starts at December 18th, and ends the 3rd of January. Finals begin the next week the 11th of January. So there are a full two weeks of time before finals when a student has no scholastic responsibilities but to study for exams. This system is a great idea, and I wish more US Universities would do the same thing. ASU has reading day, which I really love, because I usually spend half the day relaxing then, the second half, studying. But, one day is not enough.
Imagine! Two weeks to study, go at a leisurely pace with learning and fully reflect upon what you have just put into your mind. Pretty cool huh? For sure! So while I have been going to me classes, regularly, reading the material, listening during lectures, taking notes, and doing follow up work outside of class, there is still time, to prepare. This system is geared toward learning, understanding, discovery, innovation and enlightenment.
It is pretty hard to gain enlightenment when all a student is worried about is passing the next exam, or making sure all the homework is done, that system is rather much more like a meat packing factory, where carcasses are stripped, knifed, and removed of the fat, what is left is a nicely packaged piece of meat. No skin, no bones, ready to be frozen-shipped and sold to a supper market where it will sit with other packaged meat from around the country; a body with no mind.
Luckily, two weeks for study, reflection, hard work, the usually test anxiety, saved up for the final exam, which is easier than what the professors have been teaching will help a mind-body from turning into a piece packaged meat. Step out side of the cycle of cram, study for exams, and into a cycle where learning is enjoyed, cultivated, and a pleasure. Surely, there is more to life then being turned out and honed, into a homogenously packaged piece of meat.