Well, folks, it's that time of year again. No, not Christmas. No, not Girl Scout cookie sales; you missed the boat on that one by a few weeks. That's right - it's midterms week. As every college student knows, midterms week is by far the most stressful week of the semester. Some would argue that finals week is worse, but as I've discussed on this blog already, the inclusion of study days makes that week at least manageable. With midterms week, there are no study days. For this and so many other reasons, it is the worst. Now that I'm done with the only actual exam I had this week (Arts 'n' Craftz for the win), I will take a few moments to explain the horrendous nature of this week to you all.
The most obvious problem with this week is, as I hinted at, its complete lack of study time. While the study days granted us during finals week may be a joke, they're at least there. The option to use those extra free hours to study is given to us, should we choose to take advantage of it. With midterms, we don't even have the option of studying during free days, because there are none. You're ambling along through the semester, doin' ya thang, and all of a sudden this week of tests, papers, and projects just materializes. Nothing stops to accommodate midterms, but the workload is barely any more forgiving than that of finals. Furthermore, most of the exams this week occur during class or at a typical class exam time - which means no extra time to take the test. What's that? You have an exam in a 50-minute class? Because life's not fair, your professor will probably give you a test with three hours' worth of material on it. So...good luck with that!
Coming in (a very close) second in terribleness is midterms week's proximity to spring break. For people headed somewhere beachy for spring break, this week is necessarily the strictest diet week of, like, all time, ever. In addition to the hours studying and writing papers, these beach-bound kiddos have to squeeze in hours and hours of workout time - all while surviving on a diet of Evian and air. Whether you're going to Cancun, the Vatican (I don't want to talk about it, Lit Choir!), Colorado, or your boring hometown, though, spring break, as a dead week of blissful non-responsibility, is something to look forward to. How are students supposed to study when they know that, in a few short days, they can get plastered every night, sleep in til 2 PM every day, and do no homework for seven glorious days without even flunking out of school? Answer: they can't.
Though this is a rather specific problem, this spring's midterms week poses another problem for all of Notre Dame's theatre kids, as well. Auditions for the PEMCo Revue happened to fall smack in the middle of midterms this year. The audition slots themselves are only five minutes each, so this would seem at first glance to be a harmless conflict. Au contraire, though, my friends. To have a good shot at making the show, at least five audition time slots need to have your name on them. Furthermore, we obviously all care a lot more about perfecting our songs than we do about studying. Each Revue-cast hopeful, then, will spend hours and hours this week in whatever practice rooms they can wrestle their way into, dividing up parts, testing the limits of the human belt range, and running each song until they forget the meaning of the word "song." Following auditions, they will panic about whether they made the show and, once the cast list goes up, will spend the remaining hours of the week either A) celebrating or B) sitting around with their friends complaining about how much better they are than everyone who did make the show. In all, the situation is wholly disastrous for midterm week success.
Last but not least, as all my Indiana readers (so...95% of you) know, the weather this week is completely and utterly non-condusive to studying for exams. It was 65 degrees today. It was nearly that warm yesterday. (And Monday it snowed all day. Indiana weather, am I right?) And as long as mother nature hands us summery 60-degree afternoons like today's, the student body of the University of Notre Dame will collectively do nothing but sit on the quad "reading;" run around the lakes; wear shorts wholly inappropriate for days that are, in fact, still only 65 degrees; and, for the guys, play shirts-and-skins football/frisbee/lacrosse/chess/hopscotch, thus giving all the girls sitting outside something to do while they pretend to do homework.
So, administrators everywhere, take note - midterms week is a preposterous institution, and it clearly should be done away with immediately. Tests should be postponed indefinitely, and papers should all be due immediately following spring break, so we can trick ourselves into thinking we're going to work on them during our extra week of time. Now hop to it, ND - you've got a lot of tests to cancel.
[Also, while I have you all here as a captive audience, everyone who hasn't yet should go watch the video on Joseph Kony and get informed on the terrible things he's doing and how you can help stop him. Watch the vid! Email your senators! Ignore the fact that this movement's been around and active for several years already! Because if there were ever a bandwagon worth jumping on, it's this one. Oh, and after that, go cry about Peyton Manning some more, because I'm sure you haven't done that already.]