How students leaving early for the break are dealing with makeups

More stories from Abby Berlin


Winter break is a time that both students and teachers anticipate.

It promises two full weeks away from the busy, stressful life most people endure while school is in session. No more homework, tests, or projects. For many, it allows them to push the pause button on life and focus only on the joy that the holiday season brings.

Unlike other years, the Christmas lights strung across the hallways did not reflect seasonal smiles but instead stressed scowls. Why does it now feel like the Grinch came to FHC and stole all of our holiday cheer? The reason for this stems from a decision to change the exam schedule.

This year, exams are being taken the last week before winter break. The idea of backing the decision makes logical sense: take exams before winter break that way students can start off the new year with a fresh start. However, some complications have arisen from this decision. One thing that many don’t acknowledge about break is the early absences.

Sophomore Ben Taylor flew down the Thursday before break for a cruise in Florida. Last year, this would entail missing a movie or quiz in class; however, this year he was forced to make up more than a ten-point assignment. Now that exams are held before the break, he has to come up with some creative alternatives for missing them on Friday.

Her advice is simple yet effective—procrastination is a student’s worst enemy.”

“[Missing exams has] made it more stressful,” Ben said. “I’m now taking four exams on the same day, and two of those are going to be during the 30-minute ‘study’ classes, so I’m getting a lot less time than everyone else.”

Despite all of that, Ben says that he actually enjoys the idea of exams before the break. Having a crunched testing schedule did not pin down Ben’s positive attitude.

“I like [taking exams before break] a lot better for sure,” Ben said. “Being able to come back to a new school semester after New Years will be great. Last year coming back after the break, I forgot a lot of stuff and I struggled to study in time for exams.”

Some families take the opportunity before the break to take their kids out of school earlier. They do this with the mindset of very little productivity; they believe that many teachers will not begin with any new material before the break. A short timeline and preoccupied minds used to dictate how essential the teachings in class would be.

Exams this year has changed that way of thinking. Geometry and Physics teacher Amy Stone voices her new love for the altered schedule. Stone says that the idea of a fresh start after break more than makes up for the shorter first semester. She also believes that students leaving early for the break should not be too concerned with testing makeups.

Her advice is simple yet effective—procrastination is a student’s worst enemy.

One of Stone’s students that missed testing has abiding by her advice when dealing with makeups. Senior Lindsey Cool missed two days of exam testing to undergo dental surgery. Unlike Ben, she chose to make up testing on Saturday. While some would despise going in to test on the weekends, Lindsey says she actually preferred it.

“I’m actually glad I was able to take some early because that’s two fewer exams I have to prepare for this week,” Lindsey said. “Two of my other classes had exams on Monday and Tuesday, so I only have one exam left on the real exam day. Spreading them out has been a big stress relief for me.”

Unlike many of her peers, Lindsey did not have to worry about six exams consecutively. Spacing them out provided less stress and more breathing room between the exams. Because of her good experience with an altered schedule, she has taken some time to think over the current schedule.

The week leading up to break used to bring an exciting pep to the halls of FHC. Holiday spirit paraded through the classrooms and the people found inside. The once tired and glum teenagers now adorned glimmering smiles of appreciation—for they could look forward to fourteen days of uninterrupted sleep.

This cheerful scene may not be as bright as years past; however, that does not mean students are unhappy with the new schedule. The stress of exams seems to be covering up the relief of a new start in January—and surprisingly this is no exception for the people making them up.

“I’ve talked in the past about students never getting a real break from school because we have homework on the weekends and over breaks,” Lindsay said. “ With exams before the break, students and teachers both finally get a couple of weeks of hopefully no stress.”