Dead Week — just another cruel joke UK plays at its students’ expense

Column by Tim Riley

Who said UK doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Sure, the administrators aren’t big on punch lines or pranks, but every semester they manage to do more for comedy than Chris Rock. I know I always find myself just dying of laughter every year at this point in the semester. I guess that’s just because I find working myself until 4 a.m. every morning during the aptly named Dead Week quite funny.

While I find this semiannual jest as entertaining as the next guy, the time has now come to end the charade. Give Dead Week a real purpose, or eliminate it all together.

What is the purpose of this week supposed to be?

I always assumed that it was to give professors a chance to wrap up all of their classes while giving students time to prepare for an often extremely taxing finals week. Of course, if one were to observe the actual events of the week, he or she could only think quite differently.

One would see a student body worked more heavily than any other week of the semester, a student body doing anything but preparing for the week ahead. An impartial observer could only surmise that Dead Week was designed to make sure that students are as unprepared physically and mentally for finals as legally allowed.

If one were to view the rules of Dead Week, it would seem that its realization is impossible. Only pre-scheduled quizzes can be given, no tests, and only projects whose due dates were provided in the syllabus can be due during the week, according to UK rules.

In reality though, there is an innumerable amount of loopholes to these rules, and of course, they can simply be ignored on a professor’s whim. Unfortunately, it seems no one in a position of power has had any real interest in fixing these loopholes or even enforcing the rules to stop obvious violations.

With nowhere to turn for aid, the hardworking students become the punch line. Instead of getting some much-needed rest before finals, they are deprived of sleep and forced to study nonstop. This method hardly seems effective in helping student retention.

And it’s not that the students are lazy. It’s not that they want to whine and complain their way out of doing the necessary work. It’s the idea that there are set rules for a certain time of year with seemingly a goal in mind that are not working. The system is completely broken due to poorly designed guidelines and lax enforcement.

The time has come for the semiannual farce to end and for a decision to be made. Either it is just any other week or it is special. Obviously, there is a preference, but no matter what, the time has come for something to happen.

Dead Week is now like any old sitcom that outstays its welcome. The joke is no longer funny.

Tim Riley is a mechanical engineering junior. E-mail [email protected]