Midterm Madness

NYU students pack Bobst Library as they brace for midterm month.

Elmer Holmes Bobst Library is currently overflowing with stressed students, backs hunch over textbooks or laptops, eyes dead from lack of sleep or potentially red from crying. This signifies the beginning of midterm season.

While midterms are exams traditionally taken in the middle of the semester, here at NYU, students take test and write papers in the name of midterms for an entire month. Students have classes with two or three “midterms” and one final, yet still view the midterms with greater weight than they would a regular test or paper. However, many professors are working away from this title, labelling major tests numerically in order to alleviate students’ stress levels.

While freshmen are new to the midterm experience and are therefore more worried than most students, Stern senior Devyani Nijhawan said, “I feel really stressed right now. Despite being a senior, to date I still feel stressed when I have midterms.”

Nijhawan, an RA at Lipton Hall, is concerned about her freshmen residents’ midterm experiences.

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“I see them going to the library after midnight and studying really hard, but I worry about them pulling all-nighters,” Nijhawan said. “Of course, I don’t practice what I preach, but it really is important to have sleep prior to the midterm.”

CAS freshman Rza Mollaev has definitely been feeling the pressure of midterms.

“I’ve been losing a lot of sleep because I’ve had to go over 11 chapters of material and make sure that I had it all entirely memorized,” Mollaev said. “I’ve also had to cut out a lot of food simply because I saw it as a distraction and time I could spend studying instead of eating.”

Students’ anxieties may be falsely sourced.

“I have a class where there are literally three midterms before the final, but all four of those tests are weighed the same,” GLS freshman Simona Gemayel.

The terms “midterm” and “final” automatically assign a heavy weight, but it is important to look at the percentage distribution. While these exams cumulatively have the potential to make or break someone’s grade, they are not worth losing sleep over.

Steinhardt freshman Annie Lemanski found the midterm season to be less stressful.

“I don’t have any labelled as midterms, and it makes me feel a lot better about the exam,” Lemanski said, referring to her exams being labeled numerically, as exam one, exam two and so on.

While these tests have the same weight as other students’ midterms, the phraseology reduces anxiety. Many professors are beginning to pursue this method, recognizing that it may be more bene cial for students’ mental health.

Midterm season is stressful for everyone, and it is important to stay mindful and remind yourself to take breaks and relax. If you find yourself unable to handle your stress and anxiety, do not hesitate to reach out and communicate with your professors. Additionally, MindfulNYU, located on the fourth oor of GCASL, is an amaz- ing resource for relaxation techniques.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 16 print edition. Email Tyler Crews at [email protected]

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