On Wednesday, Dictionary.com innocuously updated its Word of the Day, defining a “midterm” as the “middle or halfway point of a term.” This simple act turned out to have far-reaching consequences. While the choice of the word “midterm” was not in and of itself problematic, the way it was defined hurt the feelings of several Stanford midterms.
CHEM 31 reacted quite violently, saying, “How can they assume that we happen in the middle of the term? Am I less valid just because I’m in Week 8? Are they implying I’m a final? How dare they hint at the fact that I am the source of way more trauma than a regular, socially acceptable Week 6 midterm!”
Other midterms have taken a less aggressive approach, acknowledging that this is not the fault of Dictionary.com, but instead of the general trend of trying to define things. Anything that puts all midterms into one homogenous box is inherently problematic.
A Structured Liberal Education (SLE) paper passionately proclaimed, “Definitions are neither the source nor the solution of this problem because they can never fully capture the fact that a midterm can be anything it wants to be — a pset, paper or even a podcast. Of course, all midterms don’t need to be at a reasonable time of the day or contribute significantly to final grades or be in any way relevant to what’s being taught in class. Midterms come in all shapes and sizes. I just think it’s unreasonable to expect any definition to capture that.”
The Midterm Movement is holding an event this weekend at the WCC (We’re Confounding Courses) center called Definition Discourse that invites people to talk about their perspectives on this issue in a non-violent manner.
Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictitious. All attributions in this article are not genuine and this story should be read in the context of pure entertainment only.
Contact Smiti Mittal at smiti06 ‘at’ stanford.edu.