Midterms are looming over us, and stress is rampant. The library is full of students studying and clicking away on their keyboards. They're preparing for the two main kinds of midterms: exams and essays. Everyone has a preference, but there are a lot of variables. An argument can be made for either one as the ideal kind. As a Professional Writing major, I generally prefer essays. That does not mean, however, that I would rather have an essay than an exam for all my classes.
For my Astronomy class, the midterm is an exam, which I am more comfortable with. When it comes to Astronomy, I don't understand it on a level to where I can confidently write an essay on the terms and concepts. I feel like my knowledge of the material is better tested with an exam.
On the other hand, it makes sense that I would have an essay for my Philosophy class. An exam where I need to know definitions does not test my knowledge in the same way as an essay where I must prove my understanding. With some classes, it's not as obvious which type of midterm is best. The students could be divided on what they prefer.
There are pros and cons to both options.
Some possible pros to exams are:
-time to study
-one right answer
-good for definitions
Some possible cons to exams are:
-less time to complete
-only one right answer
-can't use notes
Some possible pros to essays are:
-time to form complete ideas
-ability to edit and improve
-feedback from peers
-use of notes and Internet
-numerous right answers
Some possible cons to essays are:
-not best for definitions
-no given options
-desire for perfection
-takes longer than a test
Whether you're taking tests or writing papers, here's a little word of encouragement, courtesy of Nelson Mandela:
"It always seems impossible until it's done."
This is for all of you, I want you to share this sentiment and take from it what you see as belonging to you—because there are little pieces of what I’m about to say that you will see yourself reflected in, and some that you may not, although it really is all for you. For all of you.
I remember when we met. We were 6 years old and climbing trees; we were 13 years old and discovering boys; we were 18 years old and starting university, we were 22 years old and falling in love for the first time: whenever, no matter, we were just kids then. We still are, but when we met your eyes were definitely sparkling; I know because that’s what I remember most about meeting you.
And now, where are we? We’re older and further apart. Me here, you there, and her, somewhere else entirely. We’re strewn across this world without each other and Friend, it’s not easy without you. I look back on the photos of our last weekend together and I wish we could have had it in a way that wasn’t addled with all our fears and insecurities, our not knowing when we’d see each other again. We’re coming up on a year apart and still we don’t know when we’ll meet again.
It breaks my heart to think of you struggling there, because I know sometimes you do. I know things get hard and you feel alone. I know this because this is how I feel. And I feel like everything would very easily, very simply become better in a moment, if you could sit across from me, sipping your coffee, and reach out your hand to hold mine as my voice reaches fever pitch. I know that in my panicked crescendo, that look you give me, the way you sit by me, the way you touch me, would bring me silence.
Because Friend, you know. We know. We have that special comfort of love, wherein I can tell you, and you can tell me, in the most matter of fact of ways, how to make things better. You can be brutal in your opinions and your advice and yet that brutality is merciful, loaded with all the affection I’ve ever wanted in this world. I guess that’s how we know we love each other—because we’re not trying to protect each other, we’re trying to help each other be better. We don’t offer each other retreat, there is no asylum; instead, we stand by each other in battle.
Have I said that I miss you, my dearest? That we don’t talk nearly enough, but that I know when I need you, you will be there to absorb my tears because between us, time and space have become both limitless and meaningless. And somehow, the distance has made me love you more. It’s made me understand better that what we have—what us few are blessed with—is rare and impossible.
Now that things are difficult for me, I see they are for you too, and for her and her and her. Even though we’re so far apart, we’ve managed to synchronise our sorrows, and all call to each other at once, as if by some ancient conch that only we know the secret call of. All I want is for you to materialize by my side or I by yours. I want to be able to hold you and I want to cry the way I know I can only cry with you. I want all our brown hair to weave together until we can’t see through it, and then I want to fall back in laughter (because together there will be laughter).
Together we’re double. We’re double in strength. We’re double in sadness. We’re double in happiness. We’re double in love. We’re double in all the neurotic nuances that combine to make us who we are. We’re double in our insanity. We’re doubly tall and doubly wide. We’re doubly equipped to deal with all the nasty things that life throws our way.
You’re my sisters. You make me double me, and more: you inflate me in such a way that makes anything possible.
Everyday, from a distance, I am holding your hand even if you can’t feel it. I hope we will be together soon.
I love you is hardly enough, but I’ll say it anyway: I love you.
image – REJ