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The Nine Stages of Midterm Season

Fall brings many lovely things, such as pumpkin spice lattes and cool weather, but also school. The semester is officially in full swing, and even though it feels like we just got back, the papers, projects, and dreaded midterms are already beginning to occupy all our time.

Since we understand this busy time of the semester, keep reading to get our take on the stressful stages of the midterm season.  


Stage One: Confusion

You still don’t know the room number of your class yet, or the name of your teaching assistant, but you attempt to come to terms with the fact that midterms are right around the corner

How did they sneak up on you so fast? Didn’t school just start a month ago? Am I reading the syllabus correctly? 

Stage Two: Procrastination

You turn on Netflix, browse through Instagram, go to the gym, do laundry, and even start cleaning your room. Despite your textbooks staring at you on the counter, you do anything and everything to avoid studying. 

“I got this! I have lots of time!”


Stage Three: Productivity

You march your butt to the quiet floor of the library (for what may be a first this semester), after realizing that you only have a few days, or even hours, left to study. After finally finding a spot in the library and after attempting to procrastinate some more, efficiency kicks in. You have somehow developed the ability to focus enough to start studying. Hours pass by and you think that you’ve accomplished a lot. 

Stage Four: Overwhelmed

But then you realize that it’s taken you five hours to get through two chapters. You worry that you don’t know as much as you thought. You frantically start skimming through readings, reading over PowerPoints, and scribbling notes.

 “Why don’t I know anything? I went to all the lectures and did most of the readings”.

Stage Six: Meltdown Mode

Some would say you’re officially a mess. Your friends are telling you to calm down, because “everything will be fine”. However, they don’t understand. All you can constantly think about is potentially doing poorly on the midterm and the effects on your academic career.  As a result, you mentally prepare yourself for the worst, and you proceed to calculate how every possible grade will affect your overall grade in the course. 

“Should I just accept defeat now?”

Stage Six: The Cram

All you can think about is napping, crying, food, caffeine, or whether to call it quits for the night. However, you choose caffeine and perseverance, thinking about the relief you’ll have once you finish writing the exam the next day.  

“Pain is temporary”.

Stage Seven: I Can’t Even

Your eyes are tired of fighting to stay open. Your notes are sprawled out everywhere, you’ve been spending all day (and night) in the library, and finally want to take a well-deserved break.

Stage Eight: Reassurance

You finally feel somewhat prepared and proceed to give yourself a pep talk. 

“I got this!” “I worked all night for this!” ‘Bring it on!” “Let’s fight the curve!”

Stage Nine: Relief

You’re still running on the 4 cups of coffee you had the night before, and maybe the measly three hours of sleep you got, but you’ve written your exam. You can walk out that door and finally breathe a sigh of relief. What’s done is done. Either way, you deserve to celebrate, or relax…. and start the process over again to prepare for your next midterm. 

Happy midterm season! Let us know how you’re tackling midterms this semester. Or if you need a study break, check out some other awesome Her Campus articles! 

Samantha is a fourth-year student at, Simon Fraser University, pursuing a double major in political science and communication. When not keeping up with what's new in pop culture, Samantha can often be found sipping on Starbucks drinks, or enjoying one-too-many YouTube videos. Aside from writing for Her Campus, Samantha's passion for fashion, fitness, and nutrition is what keeps her going through the week. She's self-motivated, friendly, and never turns down a cup of tea and a nice chat!
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