The "Schrödinger Moment": A Midterm Story
Start writing a post
Entertainment

The "Schrödinger Moment": A Midterm Story

What's in the box?!

226
The "Schrödinger Moment": A Midterm Story
sincyscience.files.wordpress.com

It is not difficult to understand why people freak out about midterms. One wrong answer on a test that is worth upwards of 25 percent of your grade can effectively erase weeks of studying, turning in pointless homework assignments, and making sure that you talk at least once during your section (damn that participation grade!). Not only is the impact that midterms can have on your grade daunting, but also there is an equally daunting moment in the whole test-taking process that I like to call the “Schrödinger moment."

“Who is Schrödinger?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Erwin Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist who devised an experiment based on the Copenhagen interpretation in quantum mechanics (the Copenhagen interpretation basically assumes that the act of measuring a system causes the number of probabilities of said system to reduce to one). In this thought experiment, he placed a cat, a flask of poison, an internal monitor, and a radioactive source in a box. If the monitor detects radioactivity, the flask is shattered and the released poison kills the cat. However, there is no way to know just by looking at the box if the cat is dead or not. Thus, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Now, back to my (unnecessarily) convoluted metaphor!

The “Schrödinger moment” is what I have dubbed the instant where you hand your midterm to your GSI. In that moment, your grade is simultaneously “alive and dead." While some people may know as soon as they see the test that, should they look inside the box, the cat will either be definitely dead or alive, the majority of us must play the waiting game. Hence, why the “Schrödinger moment” is such a vital part of the midterm process. It gives me hope that all of my work has not been for naught and that maybe if I don’t ever look inside the box, everything will be okay. However, that relief doesn’t last long. Once the euphoric high dies, the panic sets in. Was that the right approach? Did I even make a counterargument? Is 2+2 really 4?! This initial doubt is then followed by weeks spent in a perpetual state of either curiosity or dread, depending on your take on that whole half full/half empty debate.

So, when the time comes to look inside the box (and by "box", I mean bCourses) I can’t imagine anybody purposefully avoiding the knowledge of what is inside it. Sure, you may have to steer the conversations clear of your grades over summer break, but just as the Copenhagen interpretation assumes that “the act of measurement defines the system” so too does your midterm grade define the rest of the semester. Just check it. There are realistically only two possible outcomes. One: you are pleasantly surprised by the result and decide to “treat yo self” for the rest of the day. Or two: you now know what you need to get on all of the other assignments to at least pass your class (and, no, getting 125 percent on the final is not an event that I would count on). Neither option is worth stressing out over. Trust me. So, take the plunge and look inside the box, because there can’t be anything worse than being both alive and dead at the same time.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Adulting

7 Ideas for Keeping Logins and Passwords Securely

The first line of defense against identity theft is passwords. Unfortunately, many of us fail to remember to use them. Almost 60% of baby boomers don't use secure passwords. And, according to a report by Norton, digital natives are more prone to having their accounts compromised.

6407
7 Ideas for Keeping Logins
https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-brown-hoodie-using-laptop-computer-5475747/

The first line of defense against identity theft is passwords. Unfortunately, many of us fail to remember to use them. Almost 60% of baby boomers don't use secure passwords. And, according to a report by Norton, digital natives are more prone to having their accounts compromised.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Ford Cars That We Love

There's a good chance we've all driven a Ford or spent a lot of time at Ford, but what are some of the best cars they've ever made?

36466
Ford Cars That We Love
Photo by Jessy Smith on Unsplash

There are arguably few bigger automakers than Ford. They are a company that shaped the auto industry as we know it today and with a solid reputation in the industry, our wide range of Ford leases has always been a popular choice among drivers.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Prose: One Call

What if you had one call, but you could not say anything other than what you were told to say? In this short excerpt, Bethany finds herself at odds with her jailers and with the one she was told to call, the one she loves. What would you do when the conversation takes a turn off script?

25507
Prose: One Call
https://unsplash.com/s/photos/jail

With each incessant numbing ring of the phone call, I could feel the betrayal coiling around me like the phone line, squeezing me tighter.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review

Solid animation can't raise the newest entry in Sony's colorful monster series beyond the basics

85599
'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6suJohjIvfo

I take a slight issue with the idea that Adam Sandler didn’t have a good dramatic role until ‘Uncut Gems,’ what about ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (he says semi-seriously)?’

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

101066
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments