Ugh, midterm szn, right?

Allow me to pose a simple question: what is midterm season? For that matter, what is a midterm?

Would you say something like “oh, it’s a couple of weeks in the middle of each semester when everyone has lots of exams”? Would you think that a midterm is something that occurs in the middle of the term? 

In a better world, one that made sense and didn’t run on a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and panic, you might be right. If we lived in a society that gave a single shit about semantic accuracy, you would be right. But we don’t live in that world, because Columbia doesn’t want us to.

Midterm season does not exist because it’s literally always midterm season. Why? I can only assume that some time ago, some sadist professors decided to call all of their tests midterms and schedule them at all different points in the semester. Midterm season, if you can call it that, starts maybe 3 weeks into the semester and NEVER. FUCKING. ENDS. 

The bastardization of the word midterm was just one of the many things to shock and horrify me in my first semester at Columbia. That, and the price of a Canada goose puffer, but I digress. 

All I’m saying is if professors can’t bring themselves to call them exams or tests, they could at least call them “amidst-terms” for the sake of honesty. Or, you know, we could have a conversation about the myriad ways to evaluate the comprehension of academic material without constant high-stakes testing. We could think about the fact that pedagogy is rarely scrutinized unless a professor is perceived as going “too easy.” We could think about the ridiculous stress culture we find ourselves complicit in. We could consider the ways we are probably shaving years off our lives with sleep deprivation, caffeine addiction, stimulant abuse, and self-loathing. We could have that conversation, but I’m just here to complain about a word I don’t like! 

I don’t know if I’m fighting a theoretical concept, a dictionary, or a university, but all of the above are invited to catch these hands anytime.

Scantron via Bwog Archives