Wake Beat: Finals Life

College football season has ended for the Demon Deacons after a disappointing 5-7 finish.  Every year, bowl game or not, this is the time final exams roll around and every year final exams suck!  Most athletes will tell you that being on a sports team is a full time job.  That job doesn’t care about what homework you have or how boring class was today…your coach expects you to put all of that aside when it is time to practice.  Athletes get used to that; they have almost perfected the ability to clear any thoughts of class out of their mind.  That is the funny thing about finals as an athlete: Suddenly school is the only thing that matters and the coaches ask you about school every day!

Wake Forest is an extremely demanding academic school with very high standards. The university has even earned the nickname “Work Forest.”  Athletes at Wake are held to the same high standards as the rest of the student body, but usually have less time to focus on their schooling than anyone.  Ask any athlete at Wake Forest about it and they will respond with the same statement, “I can’t even imagine being a regular student, can you imagine all that free time?”

For one week during the year the Wake Forest student athletes, football in particular, are allowed to become regular students.  Coaches are on the road recruiting, the weight room sessions are cancelled, and school is the only thing that matters.  You go to class and then go home…strange.

I will never forget my freshman year when this happened. I walked back to my dorm and procrastinated with the rest of the “regs” as we called them.  FANTASTIC, but it was all a big trick and I just didn’t know it yet. The trick is, finals week is the hardest week of the entire year and it is the only week that athletes have zero athletic obligations. Sounds like a coincidence to me. That whole feeling-like-a-regular-student-and-procrastinating thing lasted about a day.

This is not a complaint, but more of a recollection of this joyous time of year.  I have no finals for the first time in my life and I am indeed a “reg”, if you will.  The only hold up now is the fact that I have obligations to other people and a jobs to do.

I would gladly go back to college all over again if I could!

Those 20-page papers and final exams are nothing compared to the real world.  So I guess this article is also acting as a reality check to those current student-athletes pulling all-nighters cracked out on energy drinks and coffee…Enjoy it! And if you are one of the lucky souls who only had one final or just a presentation, then congratulations to you! You need to find a way to make that happen all the time!

Lastly, some food for thought over this final exam holiday season.  Try and remember your best finals week story ever and submit them to me. I love interacting with the readers and comparing horror stories exam time. Humor is highly encouraged.  I’ll share mine first:

It was spring 2009 when I pulled off the impossible.  I was taking five classes that semester, four of which were in my major. It seemed smart at the time, but believe me it was awful.  The university tries to schedule finals on the premise that students have not filled their entire schedule with classes in the same department; I decided to go against the grain like an idiot. Therefore, Wake scheduled all communications exams to be on one of two days with differing time slots…you might be seeing my dilemma now.

Four communications classes, two exams, one major project, and one 20-page paper due on basically the same day.  Thank you to those teachers who decided to make their papers and projects due on the same day as departmental finals, it was a blast.

In case you were wondering, my fifth exam was a German exam. The test was written in German. I think that speaks itself.

So I worked my butt off to write a substantial portion of the paper first while alternating with studying and working on my project, but as previously mentioned I was a little caught up in being a regular student.  I procrastinated.  After finally getting around to it I buckled down and studied, deciding to put off the paper, and went and took my exams. I aced the exams and turned in a decent project the same day.  Almost Done!

In celebration of my minor victory I decided it would be wise to go out and party that night.  My paper was due the next day at midnight, and I had already written 10 pages, so out drinking I went.  The last thing I saw before going to bed was my alarm clock, 5:00 a.m… I had tutoring at 10 am to work on the paper.

Reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed and went to work on the paper, probably looking  like death.  I mashed on the keyboard for the rest of the day and turned in my paper that evening before I passed out from exhaustion.  Somehow, I got an A. I will forever consider that night of drinking an inspiration to my school work.

So, let’s hear your stories out there. I am sure someone can top that. Post your story in the comments section below, or just hit me up via email at [email protected].


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Michael Hoag played football for Wake Forest from 2007-2011, wearing #75, and was the starting right guard in his final 23 games as a Demon Deacon. He is currently a part-time sideline reporter for Wake Forest football radio broadcasts. He is an avid sports fan cheering for the St. Louis Rams, the Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago Bulls. Michael’s favorite Wake Forest moment was beating #23 Florida State in 2011 at BB&T Field 35-30, especially since he was on the cover of that game program. He says the best player he’s ever played against was Luke Kuechly from Boston College. For more commentary, follow Michael on his personal blog awakethesideline.com, and on Twitter at @Michaelhoag23.

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1 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. My favorite exam story comes from my sophomore year at Virginia Tech. It was spring quarter, and I was having a good academic quarter. I had a professor named Emory Pace for Differential Equations, and I was killing it. Going into the final exam, I had a 94.

    I studied all night for the exam, went into the classroom, got the test, looked at it … and it looked like Greek to me. I could barely do any of it. I scratched out what I could, handed it in, and went back to my dorm room.

    A couple hours later, the phone rang.


    The voice on the other end said, “Is this William Stewart?”


    “This is Dr. Emory Pace.”

    Wow. A professor calling me up, just a couple hours after the exam? What was this? (It’s too bad you can’t hear my imitation of Dr. Pace, because it’s hilarious, and it really adds to the story.)

    “… Hi, Dr. Pace.”

    “I’ve got one question for you, Mr. Stewart …. DID YOU STUDY FOR MY EXAM?”

    “Yes sir, Dr. Pace, I studied my butt off. I knew that stuff inside and out.”

    “Well … WHAT HAPPENED?”

    “I don’t know. I just … couldn’t do any of it.”

    “Well … you got a 35.”


    “I’m going to give you a C for your final grade. YOU DON’T DESERVE IT, but I’m going to give you a C.”

    “Thank you, Dr. Pace.” He’s right, that 35 dragged my grade down well below a C. I think it was about 50% of the grade.

    I’ll never forget that. Maybe people who go to small schools are used to direct interaction with professors, but that was the ONLY time a professor ever called me up on the phone like that.

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