If there's one word that can strike fear into the hearts of a college student, it's this: Finals.
Senior Amanda Larsen has been through her share of them. And as Southwest Minnesota State University students prepare for this week's fall semester finals (some finals were held last week also), she knows she'll be cramming one more time.
The accounting and finance double major from Marshall chose SMSU because the likes the business professors at SMSU, "and because I got several scholarships, so it made good financial sense."
She added finance as a second major after enrolling.
"I wanted to get 150 credits so I could take the C[A exam," she said. "So I decided to add a second major."
She plans on taking her CPA exam after graduating. "It gives you more career options," said Larsen, the daughter of Dana and Jane Larsen.
When it comes to finals, each professor is different, she said.
"Two of my finals this semester are open book, not cumulative," she said. "I'll read all the chapters again though. One is auditing, which is knowing a lot of rules, so even though you have the book you have to make your own judgments.
"It seems like everyone is busy and tense right now. There's a lot of people in the library studying."
She has lived off campus since her junior year and prefers the quiet in the library when she studies.
"I like to find a place alone, away from others," she said. "I don't like to study at home, I'll hear a noise and wonder what's going on."
Some students study fairly consistently throughout the semester. Others cram. Her preference?
"A little of both, but mostly I'm a crammer,' she said. "It seems like you're so busy during the entire semester, especially with upper level classes. They're busier, they require more. I study as late as I have to, usually not past 1:30 a.m., then I'll get up in the morning and study if I have to. Night is the best time for me."
She began an internship with the Schwan Food Company in October, and likes the corporate atmosphere.
"I'd like to work for a corporation eventually," she said. Her internship requires 25 hours per week, and she is carrying a total of 15 credits, which includes her internship. Next semester, she'll have 21 credits, counting her internship.
She carries a 3.92 grade-point-average through her college career, and is happy with her college choice.
"I like the people here. I've met a lot of great people, and I think I've received a great education. It's been challenging."
She credits a trio of professors for helping her achieve her academic goals: Associate Professor of Accounting Glenn Bayerkohler, Associate Professor of Accounting Dr. William Thomas, and Associate Professor of Accounting Dr. David Patterson.
"Mr. Bayerkohler has helped prepare us for our CPA test, he'll hand out review questions, and emphasize things on the CPA test," she said. "Will Thomas has been my adviser, and has been great."
She's involved with the Accounting Club and Students in Free Enterprise groups on campus.
As far as advice she'd give someone wanting to major in accounting or finance, "find an upperclassman who can help you, who can tell you what to take. I met upperclassmen and they told me what courses to take together. They have the knowledge, so listen to them, and get involved with activities and clubs."
She'll miss her college days, but is anxious to graduate
"I'm looking forward to the next phase of my life. I'm ready to be done with school," she said.