Let me just say, this round of midterms were crazy. I think I cried at least twice, just today. People think being an English major is a cop-out but I'm here to set the record straight. Shit is hard. I had four papers due, along with normal reading and class work. Seems easy, right? Each paper was vastly challenging and long. How is it people think I can talk about Chaucer for 5 pages and how he wrote super vaguely so you have minimal material to use. Middle English is not easy to write about. There are close readings, translating, and then trying to understand what the hell they are trying to say. Honestly, sometimes I think even they don't even know. Then I had an art paper that was supposed to be 7 pages long. That just speaks for itself. I had two other 5 page papers due and I felt like screaming. And the cherry on top? All due on the same day at the same time, given to you a week before it's due. I wish I had tests that I can fake study for because I know I'll pass. Papers you can't guess. You have to make sense and your English professors won't go easy on you. This is what it's like being an English major during midterms.
Stage 1: Shock and Denial.
The professor gives you the assignment and the paper length. You look at your friends in class and give each other the "look". You know you're screwed but you just move into denial. It won't be that hard. You have no idea what the topic means? Ah well, guess you'll figure it out the day before it's due. You know you shouldn't procrastinate this one but I mean, you always save the hardest for last right? RIGHT!?
Stage 2: Pain and Guilt.
This is the "oh shit" stage. It where you realize you fucked up in waiting to do the hardest one last. It where you cry, staring at the computer screen begging words to just appear. Please something happen! Minimum of 1800 words and you have 30? Yeah, cue the water works. It's just so hard. You're feeling bad for not doing it sooner and how you keep checking your phone or Facebook as a sort of life line. Someone save me. Like literally, please help. Bye, bye 3.9 GPA, it was nice knowing you. Totally waving the white flag.
Stage 3: Anger and Bargaining.
Why would your professor do this to you!? It's their fault for making this so difficult. Why couldn't they have assigned an easy paper for midterms. You had to assign a minimum of 2000 words? No, you didn't Professor 'I'm Trying To Kill You". Most of your professors are sadists. That's the anger talking, of course. You know they are only trying to challenge you to help you grow and be smarter but still. Then comes the bargaining. There are two different kinds. You probably do both, and there is plenty of shame. First is bargaining with your professor: asking for extensions, office hours meeting, or do you really have to do it? Can there be, like, a freebie? I'll help you garden or something just don't make me do this, please! Of course this all gets rejected but it never hurts to try.
The second type of bargaining is with yourself. I'll do one page and then watch ONE episode of Law and Order: SVU. One always turns into five and the next thing you know its 2 AM and your paper is due at 8 AM. You begin to pray now, even if you aren't religious.
Stage 4: Depression/Reflection.
This is where you realize that you messed up. You promise yourself you'll do better next semester but you know the same cycle will repeat. It's all a part of being an English major, hell, a college student. Maybe I'll get it right for my senior year, who knows? The paper is still empty and you begin to give up. You know this paper can't be good...or can it?
Stage 5: The Upward Turn.
Oh my god. The BEST idea just came to you. All of a sudden words are flying out and before you know it half the paper is done. The three quarters. You stall on the conclusion because be real, we all do. It's like this magical moment happened and Olivia Benson somehow gave you the best idea and your paper has taken a beautiful, elegant shape and you are just so close to being done!
Stage 6: Working Though To The End.
You're tired and hungry but you push through those feelings to complete your goal. You can do this. Your paper is almost done. You're doing the in text citations and works cited page. You realize how close you are to being done and just push. You grab your coffee/tea/soda and chug it down, hoping it'll give you one last burst of energy to make this a home run.
Stage 7: Acceptance and Sleep.
You finally did it. It's done, you're done, and you can finally go to sleep. You don't revise or read it over because you know you'll see mistakes and honestly you don't care. You just want to finally lay in bed and close your eyes but before you do that, you do one of the best things in a college students world: you close all the tabs and submit the paper.
You can see Spring Break on the horizon and it gives you hope. You tell yourself just one more year and then you are done.
This is the life of an English major everyday and the life of a college student at midterms. It's crazy and it makes you feel like you can't do it but you know in your heart and mind that you love this life. You wouldn't want it any other way because you know without all this you can't reach your dreams and that's what pushes you though it in the end; your future.