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Utah News

Professor Suprises Students At Final Exam

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College students at Utah State University and across Utah are taking their finals and regardless of what their major is, whether they're  female or male, religion, race, political affiliation, domestic or international, they all have one thing in common – stress.

“On a scale of one to ten, probably a seven," said sophomore Ashley Siddoway. “Probably like a six," said junior Jeremy Bliss. “About a nine and a half," said sophomore Jenna Hawley “I’m a solid eight," said sophomore Jeremy Gage. “I would say a nine. I have exams like, every day," said sophomore Asfand Khan.

Dr. Cathy Bullock, a journalism and communications professor at USU, said she sympathizes with her students.

“There’s always a lot of work at the end of the semester so it’s a lot of work for us too.”

She said you don’t have to guess how they’re feeling, you can see it on their faces.

“I’m standing there in my intro to mass communications class," Bullock said. "And seeing students who just look tired and stressed and you know it’s a tough time of the semester.”

Students try everything from energy drinks to pet therapy to deal with their anxiety. But Bullock has her own brand of therapy she likes to spring on her students on the day of the final. Just before she is about to begin the exam, something happens…

The students are caught off guard and look around as bell-ringers, who have been sitting among them, reveal their bells and begin ringing them as they move up onto the stage.

Once assembled, they begin a sweet sentiment.

Bullock said orchestrating an event such as this requires some work.

“There’s a little bit of organizational stress that goes along with it but then," Bullock said, "Once you get into the room and those bells start to ring it’s just like, wow, its, it feels pretty good.”

Bullock is the director of the Westminster Bell Choir in Logan that flash-mobbed her class. She said they began doing this after the choir was asked to participate in a flash-mob at a mall in 2011.

“We had so much fun with that," Bullock said. "And we said we have got to come up with a flash-mob we can do on our own.”

It was after seeing the tired expressions on her student’s faces that Bullock realized she already had an audience.

“These are the people we can flash mob," she said. "It’ll be a surprise, it’ll give them just a little bit of a break, you know, break up, you know, just a  mundane class day”

Bullock said that there are other professors who have their own bag of tricks to help students but for her, bells have a special ring.