Behind the scenes of finals week at McKeldin Library

By Lindsay Sanderson
Staff writer

Towers of empty coffee cups, papers stacked over the heads of their owners and drool on laptop keyboards greet anyone who ventures into McKeldin Library during finals week. This intense time affects students all over the University of Maryland campus, but at times it can be just as stressful for those whose job it is to help us through it.

The Terrapin Learning Commons Tech Desk on the second floor of McKeldin, often the most crowded floor, provides chargers or tech accessories. They can also assist with tech problems. Students swarm the desk during finals week when their computers or phones are dying during marathon study sessions. Nightmare situations can arise in which students accidentally delete their precious study guides.

As students’ GPAs teeter, tensions rise, making minor problems seem like the end of the world. This is a frantic time for the tech desk as they try to provide the required services.

“It is a stressful environment to work in,” said Charles Tam, a tech desk worker. “We are just trying to make everyone happy and give them what they need. During finals week we run out of things, and [students] don’t take it well.”

Coffee and snacks from Footnotes Cafe are also essential for refueling and surviving that final study guide. When Footnotes is students’ only caffeine lifeline, working behind the counter can be tough.

While the fraught conditions are hectic for some, other workers say it’s just part of the grind.

“We’re just busy constantly,” said Sherry Davis, a Footnotes Café shift manager. “The busyness makes the day go faster. I’ve learned to handle the stress.”

Davis serves coffee, espresso and snacks to students well into the wee hours of the morning, wondering if they’ll ever get any sleep.

Finals week is an extremely trying time for students, but it’s important to remember that all over campus stress is high. A little extra kindness can go a long way to relieve some tension.


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