Paper cranes to wish good luck on finals

Students on their way to the Downing Student Union may notice a colorful array of blue, green, pink and yellow origami cranes sitting on strings outside the student center.

In the spring during finals week, the Center for Career and Professional Development puts out the brightly colored paper birds in order to wish students good luck as they prepare for and take their finals. Japanese legend says that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.

Becky Tinker, associate director of the Center for Career and Professional Development, said in order to pass finals, students need more than just cranes.

“It’s hard work and all of that, but I think that the cranes are just a cool way to say to the students, ‘we’re thinking of you and we’re here for you during this stressful time,’” she said.

The cranes are usually put out the week of finals, but due to questionable weather next week, Tinker said the cranes were put out a week early. 

The idea was originally started four years ago by Robert Unseld, associate director of the Center for Career and Professional Development, and was only going to be a one-time thing. Because of the positive student response, however, the cranes have since become an annual event. 

The cranes are made by the student staff of Center for Career and Professional Development.

Pikeville junior Katie Stafford was the student worker who oversaw her co-workers in the making of the paper cranes. She said they began making the cranes during the first week of classes in August last semester. She, along with 14 other student workers, folded an average of 10 cranes every week before reaching a total of 2,800 cranes.

“I wasn’t that great at folding them at first,” Stafford said.

She said they watched instructional videos on how to fold the cranes to aid them in the process, and the process allowed the student workers to bond together in a way they may have not been able to. She said despite some instances when they thought they were on a time crunch, the crane making process, overall, went smoothly.

 “As it went on it became second nature to fold the cranes, we could probably do it with our eyes closed,” she said.

 Stafford said she remembers her first year seeing the cranes as a freshman student and confesses to still having her crane from her freshman year today. She said the cranes are a culmination of her year spent in the Center for Career and Professional Development. For other students, she believes the cranes offer a breath of relief before finals set in. 

“It’s finals week, it’s stressful and it’s nice to see that pop of color and be able to take it with you,” Stafford said.