To every exam I’ve ever taken,
You never seem so intimidating in the beginning of semester, when everything’s calm and easy, making school seem manageable. I convince myself that I’m a whole new person this semester, the kind who studies for a midterm weeks in advance and has a handle on everything.
Alas, you catch up to me every time. Soon enough, I’m studying in the minutes right before the midterm in hopes of cramming final pieces of information in. You’ve forced me to make tough calls, choosing to prioritize topics over others in the hopes of maximizing my grade, yet crushing my inner perfectionist.
You come in waves, and I can’t help but compare you to spicy wasabi peas. One of you is okay; two of you can be manageable. But as I have more and more of you, it just gets saltier and spicier to unbearable levels, and I want to throw away the pack before I’m even halfway through. The more midterms I take, the worse it gets.
I actually appreciate the idea of you. Having exams throughout the semester forces you to stay on top of your work and actually know the material relatively well if you want learn from the class. But I also think there are ways to enforce this without having to constantly stress students out. For example, more heavily weighted homework assignments on the class syllabus would motivate people to stay on track as they go through the semester.
Of course, I’m probably to blame in this hate-hate relationship too. After all, the myths depict people who manage midterms consistently without having to spiral into a never-ending stream of working as having a happier time all-around. It’s just that those are myths for a reason, and I’ve come to a stage where this self-destructive cycle is familiar.
At least I have you to thank for finding my true love, coffee. From espresso to drip, I get to try it all while simply trying to get through another exam. Sure, I’m also kind of addicted to coffee at this point, but it’s worth it. Coffee can be there to pull me back up when you keep shoving me down. Coffee loves me (or at least my wallet.)
A stressed midterm child