As much as I rejoiced in the pure bliss and quaint charm of German Christmas Markets, they did instill a singular and horrifying thought in my mind: finals are coming. Even though there were cheery wooden stands on every corner promising that Santa Claus was going to be coming around, we all knew this happiness would soon fade as our impending doom approached closer and closer.
As I mentioned before in a previous article, the German school system is incredibly different from the typical American system, which only adds to the terror. I’m joking. It’s not that bad. But finals week in Mannheim is oddly both similar and vastly different from Drexel. And I mean this on every level of the word. All from studying in the many libraries, to the materials being covered, to even the late night runs for some greasy fries to keep you perked up.
In many ways, Germany is not all that different from America. Students crowd the libraries, vying for a glorious spot at a desk, praying that by some chance the heavens will break open and there will be an opened seat just around the corner. There’s plenty of resources for you to use while at the libraries, whether it be outlets or paper, to even computers and printing. You’ll see some students who have been here for days, while others that are stepping into a library for the first time in months.
But while there’s plenty of similarities, there’s many more differences to account for. To start off, most American universities don’t make their final exams worth 100%, so there’s usually a good flow of students in and out of the library systems. Here, it was easier to find a seat in the library than it was in the café throughout the entire year, right up until a few weeks ago, when everyone started to buckle down and study. And because of the weight of these exams, students usually start studying for their exams around 4-6 weeks before the dreaded day!
But by far, the most difficult difference that I’ve encountered while studying in the libraries at Mannheim, was that food was absolutely not permitted nor tolerated once you enter the study spaces. How was I supposed to get through all these lectures and assignments without my yummy Halal or Happy Sunshine to keep me sane?! I guess it’s just a perk to look forward to when I return!