When one thinks of the word “finals,” there’s a good chance the word brings feelings of stress. And it makes sense — students are bombarded with several exams at once, often cumulative, and these exams are accompanied by final papers, projects and assignments right as the semester is starting to wind down. But aren’t midterms almost the same thing?
Sure, midterms can’t be cumulative since they always occur in the middle of the semester. But most classes set different dates for their midterm exams. So students don’t just have exams to worry about — they must continue to work on homework, papers and projects in some classes while trying to study for exams in others.
Many students study for finals with the light at the end of the tunnel in mind. During the fall semester, students can daydream about winter break and spending time with family and friends for the holidays. In the spring, there’s the promise of summer and sitting by the pool instead of sitting inside a classroom.
But for midterms, is there really a light at the end of the tunnel? Because once one set of midterms is over, there is only another set of midterms until final exams. While it seems fellow students understand this struggle, the majority of faculty and staff at the university fail to recognize the amount of pressure midterms can often put on students.
Right before each finals week, the University of Wisconsin Madison has a study day for students to catch up on studying for their finals, allowing students to get a break between finishing up course content and preparing for exams.
During finals week, both student unions offer several ways to alleviate stress, including free pop-up yoga classes, cookie decorating, special movie viewings and art classes. The Natatorium always offers free group fitness classes during finals week. University Housing consistently holds events right before finals like bringing in therapy dogs, scheduling movie nights and providing tons of free food.
Yet, where is this kind of support during midterms? While it may be unrealistic to instill something like a study day for midterms, the university could do more to help students through arguably the second-most stressful point in each semester. Providing stress relief events, increased exercise options and even just having professors give their students more words of encouragement could help. Where are the free yoga classes, cookie decorating, and special movie nights during midterms? Where is the constant reassurance that we can get through this?
Feeling like the anxiety and personal stress during midterms is unwarranted makes it even worse. During finals, events and words of encouragement run rampant. These should be just as common during midterms.
If you didn’t hear it yet, good luck on your midterms fellow Wisconsin students. You can do this, you will get through this, and maybe in the future, we can get more encouragement and recognition during this difficult time for many.
Courtney Degen ([email protected]) is a freshman majoring in political science and intending to major in journalism.