Research study finds mid-term writing improves mental health

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By Nazefa AhmedNovember 9, 2022

Disclaimer: This article may or may not be written from the personal experience of the author

In the last week before reading break, many students practically jump out of their seats to write all of their midterm exams. They love having to remember a small detail from September and having multi-part questions based on it. While it’s a well-established fact, researchers from the Faculty of Education, in partnership with the Department of Psychology, dug deeper into the science behind students’ love of midterm exams — their findings are shocking.

Their research showed that students writing mid-term go through three phases of grief, which purge their minds of all negative emotions. At the end of the experience, they become a numb mass of nothingness – they are so happy that they are often brought to tears after halfway through. After having their dreams dashed by comparing answers with their peers, many usually rush home and melt on their mattress – happy and carefree. Researchers see this as part of a student’s natural life cycle and encourage professors to make exams harder for the most powerful reaction.

In their published article, The halfway cycle of happiness researchers have studied the three stages of grief and have kindly summarized them for us.

1. Anxiety before the exam

Right before the exam, many students gather in front of the exam hall and increase each other’s anxiety levels. This is usually done with phrases such as “did you remember to study this?” and “Should I give up?” and, favorite brunette girl, “If I fail, can I become a housewife and find an engineer husband?” The real purpose of this ritual practice, however, is to make them feel like they know nothing and might fail. It is important that this feeling be as all-consuming as possible.

2. Select all that apply

Once students start writing a midterm, they’re on pure adrenaline. Nothing can stop their flow except the infamous “Select all that apply” question. These questions are designed to take up more than half of the allotted time and make students want to crush whoever wrote the question. Students are filled with blind rage and waste a lot of energy trying to find the right answer – what these students don’t know is that after releasing all that anger, they are setting themselves up for happiness at long term through acceptance.

3. Acceptance

At this point in the mid-term, there is nothing more the student can do. They usually accept that the ideal grade they need is far from within their reach. All unrealistic expectations fly out the window and a sense of calm sets in. The students think “YOLO” and hand in the exam without another thought, then walk out of the exam room like the boss they are. Right now they are reaching a level of happiness that cannot be explained in words.

Midterm exams are an essential regiment in a student’s short and depressing life cycle. While it’s great news that midterms make students happier, more research needs to be done in this area so that we can better support our students and their mental health.

This article is part of our humor section.

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