Widgets Magazine

How to avoid winter quarter midterms

Imagine: It’s Week 5 of winter quarter, and you’ve just wrapped up a full day of classes. Muscle memory leads you halfway to Green Library for a marathon study session, but you suddenly pause, turn around, head back to your room and nap for the rest of the day. While others pore over piles of history readings and run through millions of seemingly identical calculus problems, you do … nothing. You have no midterms.

As midterm season kicks into full gear for my classmates, I’ve found myself in a bizarre utopia in which my response to the question, “Do you have any midterms this week?” is a slightly bewildered, “No, I don’t have any … at all … ”

And now that class enrollment has reopened for next quarter, why not save yourself from the mid-quarter exam grind? With a little strategic scheduling, you, too, could experience the true bliss of unlimited Netflix reruns while your peers stress-eat pints of ice cream until dawn. Fill your schedule with a few of the midterm-free classes below and breeze through winter quarter – until finals roll around.

1. HISTORY 4: Introduction to Geospatial Humanities (3-5 units)

If you’re still deliberating over your side in the STEM/humanities debate, Intro to Geospatial Humanities allows students to apply quantitative analysis techniques to the study of social and cultural patterns. The best part: Grading is centered around three modules rather than a midterm evaluation.

2. CLASSICS 34: Ancient Athletics (3-4 units)

For all the Olympic hopefuls (and Olympic hopeful wannabes), Ancient Athletics’ grading includes section participation and five short follow-up response papers before a final exam. Between the lack of midterm and the fact that you can score 4 units for learning about gladiator games and chariot racing, this one seems like a no-brainer.

3. COMM 137W: The Dialogue of Democracy (4-5 units)

Bonus points for fulfilling your Communication WIM without having to turn in a midterm! If your interest in the intersection of communication and democracy expands beyond wondering how soon our system of government is going to collapse at the hands of one of President Trump’s tweets, COMM 137W is an incredibly timely course for which a long final research paper dominates 50 percent of the grading.

4. HISTORY 181B: Formation of the Contemporary Middle East (5 units)

It seems like there’s nothing about the recent history of the Middle East that this course doesn’t cover: Nationalist and religious identity, the spectrum of ideological influences in the region, the role of the Middle East in the world economy, the Cold War, gender relations – the list goes on, and the best part is that the two essays before the final exam bookend the midterm period, so it won’t contribute to the Week 5 rush.

5. AFRICAAM 81: Media Representations of Africa (3-5 units)

Student reviews laud engaging discussions and Professor Nothias’ passion as two main reasons to take Media Representations of Africa, which delves into the dominant ways in which Africa is portrayed by the media. Three projects that provide the freedom to explore a topic of choice in-depth divide up the quarter before a final exam.

6. ARCHLGY 126: Archaeobotany (5 units)

Archaeobotany (or paleoethnobotany), a dissection of the interrelationships of plant and human life, provides students with a foundation for interpreting archaeobotanical data through personalized projects and assignments. Two critical reviews and an analytical report make up the bulk of the class’ grading basis.

7. Bonus: Just take 15 one-unit classes. Do it. You won’t.


Contact Jackie O’Neil at jroneil ‘at’ stanford.edu.