Well, it’s that wonderful time of semester: mid-semester. Mid-semester of the first semester tends to be greater than that of second, mainly because if you’re poor you may score some free chocolate from people (praise for food!). But mid-semester is also a time of reflection and often revelation for many of us. See my previous post about the five stages of going back to uni, where one stage is planning, and proclamation that THIS SEMESTER IT WILL BE DIFFERENT. The proceeding is a discussion of the complete and utter disintegration of those plans and proclamations, as well as other disintegrating factors, complete with appropriate and hilarious Buffy gifs. Enjoy.
Like returning to uni, the first phase of disintegration involves a hefty does of denial. Mainly the delusion that of all your classes there are still one or two that are so easy you don’t even need to turn up or pay attention to them. What’s that? An essay? Due when? Oh yeah, that’s totally under control. What is (insert lecture specific topic here)? Who’s ever heard of that? Oh well, this class is just an elective it doesn’t matter if I fail. Ah, remember all those plans to be on top of everything? I do too, I do too. Really, since you’ve been paying anal retentive attention to all your other classes, those have to be going well; who cares if you forgot all the algebra you learnt in high school. This stage may also involve extensive use of SparkNotes, CliffNotes etc if you are a literature student, giving you the impression that you know everything that is going on in all the readings. Okay, so I’m kind of a nerd and did read all the lit readings, but I’m pretty much ignoring all my stats stuff…
Now to group work. If you do science subjects you may in fact find that around mid-semester you have multiple bouts of group work. Just try and remember the names of people you don’t know well and not confuse them. Two guys in my psychology and criminology classes last year were essentially interchangeable. Poor Kevin and Daniel….I rarely got the combinations right because they looked very similar. I felt very bad and very awkward. But I eventually got it. Sometimes you feel like the moronic one in the group and all you contribute is sarcasm, or at the very least the best set of coloured highlighters in the world (yes there are purple highlighters and yes I have one). Other times you will simply feel like everyone in your group has had some sort of stroke which could be helpful in neuro anatomy and all, but otherwise is just annoying. But group work tends to involve disintegration of all faith in mankind, as well as your scholastic abilities. But never fear, you can totally burn them all in the peer mark section. Fuck yes.
This stage tends to be inevitable in order to cling to the delusion that you have time for a social life. You will also abandon that “I will procrastinate less this year” proclamation. Total disintegration usually ends with one at the campus bar protesting that you can’t possibly go and get the next round, it’s crowded up there and you’re not in the mood for interacting with the OTHER HUMANS. Therefore everyone ends up ordering doubles to make up for the fact that twenty minutes was spent figuring out who would be collecting the drinks. Another sign of total disintegration is the dreaded drinking and assignment-ing at the same time. Procrastination has taken you so far that you now have to combine two activities. Or maybe you just really hate this assignment. Maybe you keep checking the Facebook group where people are posting opposing instructions on how to complete the assignment. And there’s always someone that asks: but what about THIS part and you die a little inside because you didn’t know about it. The reaction then goes something like this:
The Blunt Lecturer
Those lecturers who come in before the mid sem and say, without a shred of humour, that this exam is not something you can cram for the night before. This exam will be challenging, difficult even, and will require so much study you can just forget about sleeping, eating and thinking about anything else but the topic of the exam. Because a vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend. This can go one of two ways….One, you get in the exam and realise they were right and cry inside ‘why didn’t I study more??’ and plan which easier major you’re going to change to next semester during perusal. Two, the exam is so simple a drunken monkey could do it and still score a reasonable 78% and you curse the lecturer for causing such panic that you nearly admitted to the state psychiatric facility. With luck it will be the latter and you won’t have to write off your biomedical science major plans as a “youthful indiscretion”.
Ah, this is the part where you imagine (well I hope you imagine it and don’t actually do it) all the inappropriate outbursts you want to have towards faculty and other students. For example, the tutor who won’t put those slides up on Blackboard because “you had to be there” (Cue: what are they? Inside jokes?? I WAS THERE!). The lecturer who edits the slides they posted in Blackboard during the lecture and doesn’t repost the edited ones, because again “you had to be there”. Beginning to feel like the loser that didn’t get into the nightclub is a totally normal feeling here. Outbursts also apply to the person in front of you at the coffee cart who orders their coffee with detailed instructions (skinny latte with no foam, 60 degrees; oh and are those muffins low fat? Do they contain hydrogenated oils?). Wanting to scream: it’s a fucking muffin, if you want healthy get the fruit salad, is totally acceptable and normal…maybe don’t do it though. You never know if that person is a PhD advisors/assessor, tutor, or someone else important who can crush you if they don’t like you.
Now, disclaimer: not freshies are annoying and evil, some are nice and mature, and don’t make you roll your eyes constantly; this is not a blanket term. These are simply offences most likely to be committed by first years.
If you’re a later year student in a first year class, this pain will be particularly palpable. Like those excruciating ice breaker activities in the first tutorials, where I’ve seen so many people ask the question “What OP did you get?” after barely getting the person’s name. Just, no. No one cares…Then there’s the ones overly excited about going to the campus bar…”OMG I’m going to get so wasted, who cares if I have an exam tomorrow, yolo”. Please, just stop…it’s getting embarrassing. Notice that not a lot of later year students turn up to exams hungover (granted it does happen though)…that’s because we’re smart enough to know that that’s a really stupid thing to do. Freshies will grow out of it…hopefully mid semester will be an enlightening time for them.
There’s a Mid Sem Exam…and you didn’t know
This applies on two counts: One, you didn’t know the mid semester exam existed because this was one of your denial classes. Two: the lecturer teaches another class where there is a mid sem and they got confused and started talking about it in your class, cue total panic, mass hysteria, and several voluntary committals to the local psych ward. Until they go, oh wait that’s PSYC2205 not PSYC2204…silly me. Yes, laugh away professor…your day will come….perhaps with an extremely long assignment that you have to read, possibly while consuming some scotch.
But it’s okay guys, disintegration can be healed by the news of mid semester break and chocolate…hoorah. There’s always someone more excited than everyone else…awkies