Coffee and cramming for finals at Ole Miss

Published 6:00 am Sunday, December 13, 2015

Everywhere you looked on the University of Mississippi campus this week, you saw students cramming for finals.

In coffee shops, in the student union, and at tables in various buildings – many students formed study groups to quiz themselves for the last test of the semester.

For some, studying is a process that requires certain routines and rituals.

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Yusuf Abusharif, 22, a junior journalism major, said he never studies for a final exam on the day of the test.

“I feel like that puts me at a huge disadvantage,” he said. “If I have to do it, I get really anxious. I always finish the night before.”

Abusharif said he also tries to get eight hours of sleep before exam day, and he doesn’t study for any finals more than a day before the test.

“I dedicate a day for each final,” he said, adding that he follows a few rituals.

“I always have to eat before I start,” he said. “I can’t study hungry. And I need to keep a sufficient amount of cigarettes next to me in my room. I don’t like having to go anywhere and do anything, so I like having everything I need around me.”

Courtney Wright, 20, a junior business marketing major, sat at a table with her study group Thursday trying to master formulas and material for an upcoming business statistics test.

When asked what she does to prepare for finals, she answered: “Mostly pray.”

“If (the professor) gives us a question, I will write down the whole question again, and then on a different piece of paper, I will work it out and write the answer down in a different color.”

Kylan Threatt, 21, a senior economics major, said the way he studies for a test depends on the class.

“With this class, we use mostly his notes,” he said. “But if it’s another class, I use the book a lot. I prepare to the notes.

“I read over what they go over in class. And if I still don’t get it, I watch a YouTube video to get a better understanding.”

Threatt said repetition has been key to studying statistics.

“This particular class, it’s pretty straight forward,” he said. “I go over the handouts he gives us, and questions, and how to work them out, and just continue it until it gets easier.”

Debbresha Talley, 21, a junior managerial finance major, said music is part of her study ritual.

“I always have to have my favorite song with me to tune out everything,” she said. “With music, I get through it.”

Her study process involves writing the question and answer numerous times.

“I have to be able to see it,” she said. “I just make it repetitive to the eye. I write it down probably five or six times. I keep looking at it and zooming in on it.”

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is

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