Hello…and Goodbye: WIU’s Fall Semester is Flying By

WIU students have recently finished their midterms, and we only have half of the semester to go before we finish it. Midterms are typically a stressful time for students; and responses are mixed when it comes to the realization that the semester really is halfway over. Some students are in denial and some are simply stunned; some students may be lucky enough not to have any midterm exams and are patiently waiting for Thanksgiving break.

Elementary education major, Nicole Richard, is a freshman at WIU. When I asked how her first midterms at Western went, she said she didn’t have any midterms. “I don’t know how it worked out,” she explained. “My teacher’s have been making us write about 1-2 papers a week, so I guess that’s why. It was love to not have midterms,” Richard said, “it was kind of like…‘yeah you all have midterms, and I don’t!’” she joked.

Richard said she’s a little nervous and scared for finals week to come around this December; however, it makes her happy that with finals week, the semester will soon be over. She expressed she has been receiving lots of advice from friends about finals week. “I was told that I’m never going to sleep and that I’m going to have to drink a ton of Red Bull,” she said. “I was told, too, that I shouldn’t wait until the last minute to get help for stuff…like my papers. The responsibility is all on me,” Richard said.

About four years ahead, Kristen Stradt, an English major, just completed her final midterm week at Western; she will be graduating in December. She explained that it felt really strange to finish her final midterm as an undergraduate. It feels equally as unreal that the semester is flying by, she said. “I’m stunned that this semester is already halfway over,” Stradt began, “it literally blows my mind. It’s flying by and while part of me is sad about that, the other part is relieved because I’m definitely feeling senioritis!”

In preparation before graduation, Stradt explained that she and a close friend are trying to get through their “senior bucket list” for their last semester. “I want to take in every experience I can before I leave Western; so in preparation, I’ve just been trying to fully enjoy my last semester,” Stradt began. “I can’t believe that in a little less than two months I will be graduated from college. It’s such a huge accomplishment to finish school, especially in three-and-a-half years,” she said.

Stradt was recently asked to be a marshal at the undergraduate commencement. “At first I was really excited to wear [a] purple [gown], but… now I’ll be wearing white, which definitely makes me a little nervous. I know I’ll be overwhelmingly happy when I get my diploma though,” Stradt said.

On another level of education, Veronica Popp, an English literature graduate student and teaching assistant, explained what it was like being a first year graduate student. As a teaching assistant, Veronica teaches sections of the required English course for undergraduate students under professor supervision; and she expressed she has been very busy doing so. She’s responsible for teaching, grading, and holding conferences with students. “I’ve been dreaming about student papers in my sleep,” Popp began. “It is very overwhelming. On top of all my student teaching, I have a job and I have a full graduate school course load.”

As for the rest of the semester, Popp says she is ready for it to end. “I’m starting to get lazy! My passion is starting to dwindle!” she laughed. “I can’t believe the semester is already half over… don’t remind me.”

Midterms: as unwanted as they are to some students, at least a breather can be taken now that they are over. There are only eight more weeks left in this semester, and the semester is flying by quickly. In just a matter of weeks, hundreds of graduate and undergraduate students will be receiving their diplomas… me included. All we can do is take in everything we can while the moment is here. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t slow down and look around, you might miss it.”

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