Fall Term has now officially closed, and many students are in the process of leaving campus for winter break. Many will use the first part of break to catch their breath and recover—the last week of classes and finals, known as "tenth week" can be trying.
Finals, which occured on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, were preceded by two reading days in which most of the student body is caught up in a flurry of studying, paper writing and project completing. Students will sequester themselves for entire days in study rooms and carrels in Gould Library, only to emerge for the occasional meal, glimpse of sunlight or a nap on an available couch.
However, the last week of this fall term has not been without its excitement. Friday, the last day before finals, plays host to a variety of uniquely Carleton happenings, beginning with a late night breakfast served at East Dining Hall.
Before the doors open at 10 p.m., the line has already wrapped around the side of the building despite the approaching cold weather. On the stroke of 10, students rush into the cafeteria to the sounds of disco music, grab trays and enjoy brain food in the form of warm cinnamon rolls, hashbrowns and pancakes. The food is served by Carleton staff, including hall directors and the deans of students. Another feature of late night breakfast is the toy buffet, where goodies like gumball machines and noise-makers are free for the taking. The atmosphere is jovial and Carls stream in between tables, comparing finals schedules while talking and laughing with friends.
There’s another storied Carleton tradition that occurs at the same time. Also at the stroke of ten, students in chemistry labs, at the library, in Sayles and in dorms, erupt in the Primal Scream, a purging of study-induced frustration designed to clear the mind for the days to come. Echoing off walls and over the Bald Spot, its arrival announces to all that finals are upon us.
Tenth week delivered another surprise to the campus. Blowing steadily all of Saturday and Sunday, Northfield received its first snowfall, bringing cold gales and perfect sledding conditions on Bell Hill. For those lucky enough to finish finals early, trays from the dining halls or bed mattresses, for the more adventurous, make perfect sledding implements. Those still buried in books can do little but wish they could join in the extreme sports taking place outside.
Though tenth week is an exciting time, the conclusion of finals is bittersweet. Most Carls return home for the five-week winter break, leaving Carleton behind—until Winter Term begins, bringing with it another season of broomball, blizzards and frozen toes.