Temple students study for finals at home

With exams online and some campus buildings closed, many students are taking finals from their hometowns.

Zach Oser, a freshman finance major, studies for online exams at his home in North Wales, Pennsylvania. | ZACH OSER / COURTESY

Studying for finals at home is “kind of a downer” for Emma Holtzman. 

Instead of being surrounded by students huddled at their desks preparing for exams, Holtzman, a freshman health professions major, is trying to keep focused while living with her family in Reston, Virginia, after moving out of 1300 Residence Hall two weeks ago.

Many Temple University students are preparing for their final exams and projects away from Main Campus after some campus buildings, like residence halls and dining halls, closed on Nov. 21. For some, studying in off-campus apartments or moving home for finals presents more distractions as the semester comes to a close. 

“I enjoyed doing school at school,” Holtzman said. “Everyone around you is a student, everyone is studying, everyone’s like in the same mindset of, ‘Get good grades, do our classes,’ stuff like that.”

Most classes were held online for the majority of the fall semester after Temple moved classes held in person virtual on Sept. 3 following an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among students, The Temple News reported. Students living in residence halls had the option to stay until Nov. 20, when all courses moved online for the remainder of the semester and some campus buildings closed. 

Students living off campus were also encouraged to move home on Sept. 3 by Thomas Farley, the city health commissioner, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Philadelphia, but some stayed living near Main Campus to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to their families at home. 

Final exams for undergraduate Temple students begin on Dec. 10 and end on Dec. 16.  

Despite struggling with maintaining motivation and completing assignments, Holtzman feels confident moving into finals because most of her classes don’t have cumulative exams, but are testing her on end-of-semester topics instead, she said.  

Alexis Smith, a senior environmental studies major who lives on 17th Street near Jefferson, said one of the hardest parts about studying for finals is getting out of bed in the morning. 

Smith’s roommates all have different schedules, so it’s difficult to keep herself in a routine because she’s usually the only one awake in the morning, she added. 

Studying and preparing for her final presentations and exams has left Smith feeling like she never leaves her living room, adding to the stress of juggling finals, she said.   

“I have to write 20 to 25 pages of material, I have to do three presentations, I have a final exam and then I have to do my internship I’m taking for credit,” Smith said. “It’s a lot to handle.”

Main Campus facilities including the TECH Center and Charles Library will remain open through finals week for students, The Temple News reported. The TECH Center extended hours beginning on Dec. 8, and while Charles Library is not extending its hours, students can reserve study rooms, study in the main library sections or utilize limited seating in 24/7 study rooms until Dec. 16.

Julia DiFonzo, a freshman public relations major, is also studying for finals in her off-campus apartment on Willington Street near Jefferson. Her roommates have been helping her study and focus on school, something she doesn’t feel would be the same if she were living at home with family, she added. 

“We keep to ourselves when we have things we need to do,” DiFonzo added. “I feel like they are a good motivation to actually do my work.”

Freshman finance major Zach Oser is living at home in North Wales, Pennsylvania, and said preparing for online exams isn’t overwhelming this semester because he took online exams in the spring.

Oser gets distracted while studying at home because his younger brother is also taking high school classes there, he said.

“I know at school they have the library, so I could take out a study room,” Oser said. “Here, I’m not really motivated to study, I mean I do, but it’s not my priority, so I think yes, I probably would perform better if I was on campus.”

To focus better, Oser uses the basement area of his house as his “office,” the study away from family. 

Holtzman misses the freedom of having her own study schedule, something that’s changed since moving home with her parents, who have their own routine.

“It’s just a whole different energy around you,” she said.

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