There might be a reason you see so many people shuffling around campus looking like zombies this time of year. With more teachers assigning major projects and tests, Dead Week has become… undead.
“I don’t even know why they call it Dead Week,” senior sociology and linguistics major Karen Hulen said. “It’s nonexistent. I have work every fuckin’ time.”
The UCSB General Catalog reads: “The purpose of Dead Week is to allow students to begin preparation for final examinations without academic obligations beyond the normal class meetings. The giving of any examination is, therefore, strongly discouraged, especially giving two exams within the time span of Dead Week and finals week.”
Academic Senate Executive Director Claudia Chapman called it “the policy that’s become a suggestion.”
Some teachers do not view giving students a break during Dead Week as policy at all.
“I only know of it as part of folklore,” College of Letters and Science Dean of Undergraduate Studies Alan Wyner said. “I think, as a rule of thumb, if I hand out a syllabus during the first week that says a paper will be due the last week, then that’s OK.”
No matter how much advance notice they get though, some students just cannot do the work until just before it is due. Or after.
“I’ve always had stuff to do during Dead Week,” fifth-year biopsychology major Ruess Ushakoff said. “I just always turned it in after finals week.”
Evidently, Wyner is not alone in his belief that Dead Week should not be set aside strictly for studying.
“I know a lot of people who have major papers due this week,” senior business economics and Spanish major Mariana Godinez said. “It really stresses them out because they have to do those before they can even worry about finals.”
In some classes, students are taking tests rather than preparing for them. Many teachers give early finals during Dead Week, with mixed student reaction.
“I actually feel good about getting it over with,” freshman pre-biology major Monica Oh said. “If they are all during finals week, there’s more pressure.”
Hulen speculated that teachers give assignments during Dead Week because they know students would not spend the week studying even if they were free from academic obligations.
“People would just go downtown and get drunk anyway, so maybe the teachers figured that out.”