Every quarter, when finals week rolls around, Wildcats everywhere flock to the libraries, hit the books and begin to study, study, study. Luckily for us, Northwestern makes this time of reports, papers and office hours as easy as possible with all sorts of stress-relieving activities and services. I’ll never forget my first-year how well I got to know the periodicals section of the Main Library. So well in fact, that I recall hours spent studying into the wee hours of the morning.

But what’s so amazing about the University is that there are actual incentives that beckon students into the library! Not that incentives have ever been needed in the first place. Places like the Main Library or the beauty of Deering Library feature some of the most secluded, quiet and study-worthy spots in the nation if you ask me. But I’ve found that for most students, there may be an incentive needed by the third or fourth day of studying. During my first round of finals, I’ll never forget being startled when the peace and quiet of the library was suddenly broken as students from the Sheil Catholic Center sprinted through offering bags of candy, granola bars and refreshments to the packed room full of students. My initial, startled response quickly evolved into a hysterical laugh and thankfulness as I stocked up on fuel to get me through the next hour. Hearing them do the same thing in other areas of the library to unsuspecting students brought a smile to my face immediately.

But while student groups like the Sheil Catholic Center offer services, so does the University. The Norris University Center is always teeming with activity during finals week as professional masseuses, yoga instructors and even puppy trainers come through to help students relieve stress. Last year during my junior year, I was walked into Norris just expecting to grab a quick bite to eat when I stumbled across a room in which free massages were being given by local Evanston masseuses. To my delight, I received a professional massage before even digging into my Subway sandwich.

As you can see, whether it’s free candy from caring student groups or petting puppies in the student center, Northwestern definitely makes finals week that much more doable. For me, the services are only half the benefit. The other half would be the joy and gladness that comes with having my spirits lifted by fellow students. Inevitably, it causes me to lift the spirits of other unsuspecting Wildcats when I get the chance. 

–Austin Carr


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