‘Twas the Night Before Finals

By: Abigail Perdue 

Final exams can be daunting for first-year law students. Many of them have never had their grade in a course rest on a single exam or been forced to recall everything they have learned throughout the semester under tight time constraints. Although exam anxiety is natural, it can undermine performance. Thus, to interject some light and levity into the stressful exam period, I send my students the following poetic parody of Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nicholas:

‘Twas the night before finals and all through the school,

anxious students were trying to keep calm and stay cool.

Their bookbags were placed on their carrels with care

in hopes that winter break soon would be there.

Out on Fourth Street, an errant few were still drinking,

hoping Baileys or Guinness might improve their thinking.

But most remained in the Library pacing

And dreading exams they soon would be facing.

Exhausted from cramming, they dreamed of falling in bed,

but scary visions of IRAC loomed in their heads.

With their laptops still open and their books in their laps,

a few tired students finally collapsed.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

they sprang from their carrels to see what was the matter.

Away to the balcony, they flew like a flash,

tore open the door, and out it they dashed.

The shimmering moon made the lawn gleam and glow,

casting the luster of starlight on the front lawn below.

Like magic, a peace replaced all of their fear

as did a passion for law , which they’d once held so dear.

The True Spirit of Wake spread like fire through Worrell,

making the real meaning of law school as clear as a bell.

The students soon realized that the best part of Wake

is the knowledge they gain and the friends that they make,

the lives they will change in their clinics and jobs,

the people they’ll help from the Janes to the Bobs,

the way that their character will continue to grow,

the honor they’ll demonstrate,

the compassion they’ll show.

And that though grades are important, just doing your best

is sufficient to pass Life’s most relevant test.

So they decided to study but then just relax

and stop needless anxiety dead in its tracks.

For the students now knew that they have what it takes

to excel in their every endeavor at Wake.

So with feelings of peace, confidence, and delight,

they shouted, “Happy Finals to all and to all a good night!”

How do you help your students cope with exam-related stress? Share your stories and insights with us.

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