Why midterms are ruining our lives

Elizabeth Klingen/File

It’s official. Late-night cram sessions have begun, and Moffitt Library isn’t getting any emptier. Here at UC Berkeley, you know exactly what that means — midterms!

Being the edgy college student you are, you probably have some strong feelings toward these daunting exams. They may be feelings of anxiety, resentment and, in some cases, even pain. Getting through your first round of midterms can be hard, but if it’s any source of comfort, you’re not alone. Each and every one of us could probably come up with an entire rant about why midterms are, in fact, the worst. But if you haven’t had the chance to say it out loud because you’re too busy hiding under your skyscraper of textbooks (what’s daylight again?), don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.


First, I’ll say what we’re all thinking. By definition, midterms are meant to be taken in the middle of the term, right? That means that in a 15-week-long semester, midterms should be rolling in around week seven or eight, right? Wrong. Midterms take place as early as the third week of classes. Remember those adjustment weeks in high school, when you got to get a feel for a class and sorted out at least a good 20 percent of your confusion before the first exam? Yeah, they don’t have that here.

How many again?

As an innocent and naive freshman (though we prefer the term “first-year”), we expected exactly one midterm per class. Going off of the same logic as before, it’d appear that you’d only have this one major exam halfway through the semester before you take the final. Well, brace yourself, because you’ll probably have closer to two or three. At least you have a cushion to fall back on if you absolutely bomb your first test, though. We’d call that a plus.

The end-all, be-all

The other downside about midterms is that in most classes, it’s the only assignment that factors into your grade. That means that there’s a lot of pressure riding on each individual test — as if memorizing weeks of new content isn’t stressful enough. This is a major drawback if you get test anxiety. You’re probably missing those participation points right about now.

Can we really call it a season?

“Midterm season” is a common phrase you’ll hear at UC Berkeley. The contradiction is that seasons only last a finite amount of time. They start and end, so when you hear your professor announcing to your class that midterm season is about to begin, they’re wrong. There is no midterm season because, newsflash, midterms never end.

No more Late Night at Crossroads

To be honest, we have to appreciate that midterms aren’t always so bad. Heading down to your favorite freshman dining hall at 2 a.m. and blowing your meal points on chicken fingers or mozzarella sticks may have been a great way to get you through the difficult times. This year, however, we have to recognize the end of an era — perhaps even a historical tragedy. There is no more Late Night. Best of luck to you as you try to study without that much-needed fried food in your system. Trust us, the fried food is essential.

But hey, we’re all rooting for you here at the Clog!

Contact Shaked Salem at [email protected].