French University System

Hello Students,

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.

4 thoughts

  1. Interesting policy! This sound like a much more balanced system. Learning should be enjoyed-It seems like a for more productive outcome for success. Very different than most Universities in the United States. I wish more Universities would consider this system. I don’t understand why most U.S. Universities’ systems tax the students with extra stress-making them cram for finals- almost insuring them extra stress and anxiety.

  2. It amazes me how some school systems can have breaks like that while others could not. I do not think it would work in America but thats just one opinion.

  3. Having finals after break does make a lot of sense! While many professors in the United States try to make university about the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, I believe you’re right: education becomes about passing exams. The schools don’t really set its students up for success, either.

    I wonder what school would be like with finals after a week of rest and study. What an intriguing though.

  4. While this idea does sound very relaxed and creates a less stressful environment I also don’t think it would work in America. Personally I like how it is now, yes I don’t sleep during the last few weeks of finals but I work best when I procrastinate and am pressured to cram everything in. Another point is that I am thankful for the break we have for Christmas it gives every student a chance to go home and enjoy their family for the holidays and prepare themselves for the next obstacles to come in the spring. I don’t completely oppose this idea and I have to admit our winter breaks are too long

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