The Fordham Ram

It’s Time to Reimagine Midterm Season


The chaotic schedule of Midterms adds unnecessary stress to students. (Courtesy of Pixabay)

With midterm season fast approaching here at Fordham, many students are buckling down for the coming grind. While perhaps not quite as hectic as finals season, midterms present their own unique challenges to Fordham students: namely, trying to balance a demanding exam schedule with an already-taxing class load. 

The Fordham Ram will be taking off next week, in order to give writers and editors a break during midterms season. For the first time in my two-year tenure at the Ram, some of my midterms are actually falling during our week off, meaning I can actually take advantage of the vacation to study. Many of my peers, however, are not so lucky, and have exams that extend later into the month. 

Part of the problem is that, unlike finals, which take place over the course of a single two-week period at the end of the semester when there are no classes, there’s no designated season for midterms in the academic calendar at Fordham. There’s about a month-long period in which professors may choose to schedule their midterms, and it’s not uncommon to hear of students still receiving midterms weeks after many of their peers have finished. 

In order to decrease stress for students and facilitate better performance on midterm exams, Fordham should create a designated period halfway through the semester in which all midterm exams must fall. 

While it may be too much to ask that Fordham gives time off from classes during this period, the same way that they give off for finals, having a designated period for midterms would mean that professors might be more lenient about homework. One of the major struggles of midterms is that, between finding time to go to classes and study, students also have to deal with all their regular homework. This isn’t because professors love heaping work on already-stressed students. In a class of 20-plus students, however, it’s impossible to design a calendar that caters to each individual’s midterm schedule. If all midterms were to fall in the same period, however, professors might choose to lessen the workload for that time frame, giving students the opportunity to study and do better on all their exams. 

Critics of this method may point out that they prefer having their midterms spread out over a long period of time, rather than mashed into a fortnight. However, as the system currently stands, there’s no guarantee that your exams will be spread out at all. There’s a chance you might have four midterms over the course of two days, on top of attending classes, finishing homework and any other extracurriculars that might occur. 

Having an appointed time frame would also allow other Fordham organizations to adjust their schedules. Resident Assistants could schedule relaxation programs during the midterm period, the same way they do during finals. Clubs could suspend their activities, or offer entertaining alternatives as breaks from exams. Perhaps the university itself could do something similar to finals season’s “midnight breakfast,” where the university offers fun and food to stressed out students. Organizing events like this would be far easier if midterms didn’t take place over a month and a half. 

It’s possible that this solution might not work in every major, such as the upper-level STEM courses that have multiple midterms over the course of the semester. In general, however, for many humanities and core classes, setting aside a designated period for midterms would lead to a more relaxed environment. Departments that are unable to conform to the schedule can be granted some exceptions, but still try to respect the chosen period and lessen their workload a bit for students during that time. 

In recent years, Fordham has been facing enormous issues related to mental health and the stress-levels of its students. A study of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences characterized nearly 71% of the student population as depressed; in fall 2021, Counseling and Psychological Services faced massive wait times and lack of individual care, due to the deluge of students seeking psychiatric help. A survey done by Inside Higher Ed, conducted two years ago, found that 65% of college students across the United States reported having only fair or poor mental health. Fordham has repeatedly committed itself to caring for the whole person, and taking steps to ensure students are properly supported. 

In the light of these issues, Fordham University should be doing everything in its power to ease stress on its students. Delegating a single fortnight in the middle of the semester as the time for midterms is a simple step the university can take to make things a little easier on students.

Michael Sluck, FCRH ’24, is a political science and computer science major from Verona, N.J. 

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Michael Sluck, Production Editor

Michael Sluck is a senior from New Jersey majoring in political science and computer science. He has been copy editing for The Fordham Ram for the entirety...

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It’s Time to Reimagine Midterm Season