Midterms’ quick commencement after break multiplies stress on students, disrupts their vacations

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Photo by Tristan Gonzalez ’24

Tristan Gonzalez ’24 packs notebooks in his suitcase so he can study for the midterms even whilst on vacation.

After trudging through four months of school, enduring a stress-inducing and exam-filled week, you finally have a break. As the end of school bell rings, you let out a huge sigh of relief, for now you can finally relax and truly get some time away from school. To parents and pretty much anyone who isn’t a student themselves, this seems accurate. I mean it is partially right; the part about us dealing with a week full of tests leading up to the “break” is evident each year, as is the intense stress that comes with it. 

However, this so-called “break” is a blatant lie in the cases of many students. A time that is supposed to represent a full release from school, for many, will likely be the opposite as they spend their break stressed with the idea of midterms taking place only a week after break. 

The presence of midterms only nine days after break is extremely unhealthy towards students as it deprives them from having the ability to decompress after a stressful week preceding the holiday and totally defeats the purpose of the intermission.

It is simply hard to let loose during the holiday knowing that I have potentially year-defining exams beckoning in my near-future. Therefore, as I did last year, I will definitely be bringing some sort of school work to my vacation and while it would be nice to say that leaving the beach prematurely to get started on some studying for math is at least a little bit rewarding, what I actually felt was quite the opposite. 

The presence of midterms only nine days after break is extremely unhealthy towards students as it deprives them from having the ability to decompress after a stressful week preceding the holiday and totally defeats the purpose of the intermission.”

— Tristan Gonzalez '24

Although I persevered, studying during my vacation last year only made me more frustrated, and ultimately even more stressed as I dwelled over how these midterms were forcing me to pass up on some more beach soccer. 

Furthermore, a study presented by Harvard Business Review reflected a similar idea when the interviewers went around Harvard’s campus and notified students who were studying that it was Feb.17, commonly known as Presidents Day. When informed that the day was a holiday, it was recorded that these students became less invested and enthusiastic about their work. 

While the scenarios do differ in ways, this change in attitude that these students underwent is also something that I, as well as many other students, have likely suffered from. Basically, the fact that these midterms have the power to take students away from some of the best times of the year just to do work that will do more harm to our mental states than good, is villain-like.  

Midterms are important to have and I am not undermining their importance; however, for the sake of the students’ well being, these exams need to be pushed back at least a week. Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or simply aiming to make memories with family, there is no doubt that school should not have the authority to get in the way of doing this, nor add more stress.

With all the stress that school creates even before midterms are brought into the equation, it is unfair that the introduction of these tests adds even more of these worries during a time in which they should not exist. As a result, midterms must be pushed back so students can ease back into school after their long overdue release.