Her book was open, but her eyes were shut. The finer points of biochemistry -- or, more precisely, the chemical composition of various citric acids -- were enough to leave Soleyah Groves snoozing.
"It started to not make sense, so I took a little nap," Groves, 20, said after she stirred and woke yesterday in the Loyola College library.
Will it make more sense after her nap?
"It better," she said. "By Wednesday."
Wednesday is when Groves, a junior premed student from Annapolis, sits for her "biochem" final. That's why she, like many other college students in the Baltimore area, spent much of yesterday hunkered down over textbooks and notebooks in university libraries.
Groves outlined her notes in a spiral binder. Others pecked away at calculators. Some hunched over computers, typing out papers.
So what if there were only 10 more shopping days before Christmas?
"That's the last thing on my mind," said Danielle Dinan, 22, a finance major at Towson State University. "I'm too worried about finals. I'll start my Christmas shopping on Saturday."
Dinan, a senior from Bel Air, reviewed a clipping from the Wall Street Journal early yesterday afternoon in the lobby of Towson State's Albert S. Cook Library. She and classmates arrived before the library opened to put the final touches on the semesterlong project.
It is an analysis of threats and opportunities facing the oil industry, as seen by Mobil and Exxon. Their presentation was scheduled for this morning.
"It's been the semester of headache," said Evan Siegel, a 22-year-old finance major who helped on the project.
And it's only going to get worse. As students move into finals week, they become tense, tired and cranky, said Yolanda Wilkins, who works the cash register at the Glen Dining Hall at Towson. She gave one reason: "They get so busy, meals are skipped."
Tomorrow night, university administrators will help serve breakfast at "Moonlight Madness," a program designed to lift students' spirits -- and to lure the hungry to the dining hall.
During finals week, some students become virtual recluses.
"It's a ghost town," said Melvin Brown, a 21-year-old sports fTC administration major at Morgan State University. "Nobody's out. Everybody's just trying to get from point A to point B."
But studying can be a social affair. Brown studied yesterday for a world civilization exam with his classmate, Shakira Brown, 18, at Morgan's Soper Library. He said his dorm was the site of a chemistry "study bash" Saturday.
Tricia Granata, a 26-year-old Loyola graduate student who was working on the library's reference desk yesterday, knows the pressure of finals week will take its toll on some students. "They're going to come in here panicked -- 'Where's this book? I need that. Help me, help me,' " she said.
She recalled the time a student frantically sought attribution for the aphorism, "I think, therefore I am." The student said her paper was due in an hour. She all but cursed the professor who assigned it.
But the instructor was standing behind her in the reference-desk line.
"The professor just leaned forward and said, 'It's Descartes.' "
On the library's second floor, Groves pressed on in her effort to master biochemistry. She had a bottle of fruit punch and an apple. She said she would be there until dinner time last night but still would not be prepared for Wednesday's exam.
"I don't know if I'll sleep Tuesday night," she said. "Maybe an hour or two."
Pub Date: 12/16/96