Burlap sack: The word “midterm”

As much as studying for them is soul-crushing, I understand the need to have midterms. I’d certainly rather spread my grade out amongst several exams than have to hyperventilate before a final worth 80 per cent of my mark.

That being said, the actual word “midterm” is incredibly misleading, and I’m mad about it. In my first year, fresh out of high school, I had watched enough college movies to know that there were exams and that they were called midterms. I assumed, since the English language is built with prefixes and suffixes that generally join together to create logical meaning, these exams would be in the middle of the term.

They are not in the middle of the term. They are everywhere. When people talk about “midterm season” they are talking about the whole fucking year. There are midterms in September. There are midterms in December. There are midterms everywhere in between. No week is safe. No student is safe. You cannot escape them.

I am no longer in my first year, but my rage about the use of the word “midterm” has not subsided. The implication that I will have a whole half-term to get my shit together in time for exams continues to lull me into a false sense of security, even when my calendar tells me that doomsday is as early as September 24th. I still manage to convince myself, every time, that midterms are a far-off, distant concept, and that I can afford to binge-watch one more season before I really start buckling down.

Can’t we just call them exams?

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