Opinion: The miracle of missing midterms


Credit: Jonathan Zhang

WSPN’s Jonathan Zhang reflects on not having midterms this year and the benefits of such a development for student mental health.

It’s that time of year again: midyear exams. In any normal year, my stress levels would be at an all time high. I would normally be surrounded by piles of binders filled to the brim with mountains of notes that wouldn’t get smaller no matter how much I chipped away at them. As I would sit there, trying to mold my brain into a sponge to absorb all the information I needed for the next exam, an array of thoughts would cloud my head — ominous thoughts of what was to come.

It’s truly a miracle that this year, I can sit at home with only a few worksheets for homework while my friends from other schools are about to take an exam that counts for 10% of their grade.

Yes, I agree, midterms are important. They prepare us for similar exams that we will have to take later on in college. They teach us how to study a lot of material and how to deal with pressure and stress.

And yet, while this all sounds great, there are so many things wrong with having midterms, especially this year. Many of us are dealing with stress on a daily basis: mainly, the anxiety of getting COVID-19 or giving it to someone we love.

What a lot of people don’t take into consideration is the stress that comes from the effects of COVID-19: activities are getting canceled, college visits aren’t practical anymore, learning online is hard on the eyes and much more. I can say that for myself and my peers, mental health is much lower than it would normally be. That’s why having a winter break that actually served as a real break for once was necessary for both students and the staff.

Now, some people may be confused. Why wasn’t winter break a “real break” before this year? Winter break was never really a “break” in a sense. With the threat of a major test from every subject looming over a person’s head, a lot of people took the time to study over break. And even those students who didn’t study over break still had the stress from the upcoming tsunami of treacherous exams.

In fact, midterms were never really practical because they were always scheduled after break. This systemic fault made it so that students would go a long period of time without studying. And, as a result, many students would have to relearn much of the material that they’d previously learned.

This is a good chance to start anew. Maybe after such a chaotic year, we can find a better solution to the issue of midterms and start the next school year with a new way of giving out midterms. I agree that they’re necessary, but we should find a different time to schedule them, preferably before break or at the end of the first semester rather than a couple weeks after break.