Posts Tagged ‘midterms’

Spectrum | Mar. 20 12:03 pm EST
spring breakers

Spring break odyssey, day 5: Miami Beach

Courtesy of Tova Kamioner

This spring break, we decided to take Spectrum along with us to wherever we’ll be. Some of these tales are fictional, others not so far from the truth. Either way, it’s up to you to decide. In this installment, Spectrum takes Miami.

I think I’ve discovered a special kind of sorcery.

All last week, through midterms and stresses and computer malfunctions, any time I said the words “spring break,” “Miami,” or “beach,” my body and mind relaxed. It was magic. And now I’m here in Miami, away from school, and as much as I love Liz’s Place, this place has a magic of its own. Spring break, my friends, means no worries for the rest of your week.

Well, OK, not… not exactly. But last week, I stressed over my midterms in a freezing classroom. Now, I get to stress over midterms with a textbook on my un-tights-laden lap, with sun flooding through my porch window, or by the pool, soaking in rays and listening to nearby people throw their cares into the ocean. It’s a beautiful thing, really: I have a ton of work to do, but the burden isn’t big enough to block my shoulders from getting tanned. Last week, I lost hours of sleep challenging my friends to QuizUp. Now, I’m showing those suns of beaches who’s boss while digging my toes into the sand.  Last week, I watched TV with the impending doom of my procrastination catching up with me. Now, I’m watching TV with the impending doom of my procrastination catching up with me. But, you guys, “spring break”!

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Spectrum | Mar. 13 5:01 pm EST
the final push

The caffeine diaries

Image courtesy of Wikimedia commons

We know midterms are almost through, but our relationship with coffee isn’t. You may be unlucky enough to be the humanities major that chose all the classes with papers due right after break, in which case the love affair continues through spring break. Either way, the simple mathematical equation Caffeine = Life couldn’t be more true than during midterms, whether you’re a straight-up black coffee drinker, or you like your caffeine sugarcoated in caramel swirls and cream. So that you feel less alone in your addiction (what’s that?), Spectrum brings you a caffeine diary from a self-proclaimed junkie.

I started drinking coffee around the age of ten, when I would skim the foam off the top of my mother’s latte.  Since then I haven’t been able to properly function without a little coffee in my system.  This is a journey through an average day during midterms, when I up the intake just a little for the sake of my weary brain.

7:30 a.m.  You’ve been awake for about two minutes at this point, knowing your alarm is imminent.  You’ve set it for 7:35, because those five extra minutes are precious.  When it finally goes off, you know there is no avoiding the inevitable.  It is crucial that you make the most of your day; therefore caffeine consumption must be carefully arranged.

Cup of coffee number one, black with milk and one pack of sugar.  Simple, and yet after the first two sips you already feel like the day is possible. More »


Spectrum | Mar. 10 1:02 pm EST
science rulez

Those midterm questions: Decide carefully!

The little men who make all your decisions. Taken from tumblr

I was reading Nietzsche in CC when I first came across the notion of “suspending belief.” For Nietzsche, in “On the Genealogy of Morals,” the concept of being able to perceive objective truth was laughable. He compared contemporary philosophers who wrote with such conviction to “false priests,” grasping onto the delusion of knowledge to escape the deeper pain of existence.

There you go—that CC midterm help is on me. By virtue of this being a student-run blog, this next exam tip is free too! Apparently, this notion of “suspending belief” has recently been explored by researchers in Columbia University’s Department of Neuroscience. In this study, researchers found that delaying the onset of a decision allowed subjects more time to accumulate evidence and reduced errors in a motion inference task.

In the experiment, subjects were shown a visual target against a background and had to decide which direction the target was moving in at a certain time. Sounds pretty trivial, right? Well, they added detractors to visual scenes—elements that looked like the target, but weren’t—and even tried modifying this task to be a memory test: similar to the type of mental stimulation that you’d find on an exam.

Turns out, subjects who not only took longer while deciding but who also took longer to start deciding had higher accuracy. So, if there’s a lesson to be learned: approach each question on your exams slowly and with deliberation. Do not even start thinking about an answer until you’ve read all parts of the question.

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Meta | Mar. 10 10:45 am EST
limited production

Spring break starts early for us

Miami Beach / Tova Kamioner

Spring break starts early for Spectrum! Kind of. We’ll be on limited production this week and next week because of midterms and spring break, which means that there will be comparably fewer posts on the site and we’ll only be publishing a paper today and Wednesday. Luckily for you guys, that means each post that goes up will be interesting and well-written (as usual), and catered to your midterms/spring break time. So this is actually pretty exciting!

We’re so close to spring break. Good luck on midterms! You can do it!!!!!

You know why??

bananapatato / tumblr


Spectrum | Mar. 9 11:15 am EST

Getting Graphic: Midterms edition

In our Getting Graphic series, blogger Orli Matlow interprets the week’s news with humorous charts and graphs. 

Hello Columbia! Welcome to an all-pie chart Getting Graphic, written as such so it doesn’t resemble anything in the economics textbook. I have begun to resent supply and demand curves and am contemplating moving to Cuba so I don’t have to deal with the markets. Luckily, I have a Canadian passport, so I’ll be able to get in.

While midterms are horrible and painful, I’m trying to convince myself that they are not actually the worst things in the world. midterms pie More »


Spectrum | Dec. 2 11:57 am EST
all night all right

Midnight Breakfast of Champions

Shoshanah / flickr

So you’re shocked that it’s already December, excited for Christmas peppermint season, and—oh, right—dreading the next few weeks of finals, term papers, and problem sets. If you’re of the all-nighter variety, you’ve probably gotten a grip on your patterns and let them inform your behavior…not. If you’ve ever been the last one in Butler 406, you know this timeline all too well.

7:02 p.m. Resign myself to the fact that I have not planned well at all for this essay. Finish the last of the Mellowcreme pumpkins (yeah, you know, those candy corn pumpkins that are so much better than the regular candy corn) in my room. Halloween was barely a month ago, so they’re not too old yet…right?

7:31 p.m. Venture to Westside for a “real dinner.”

7:51 p.m. Buy a brisket dinner from the elusive “Maria” who makes all of Westside’s prepared food. Who is she, and why doesn’t Columbia Dining poach her from Westside?

8:08 p.m. Enjoy my “homemade” Westside dinner in front of “30 Rock.” How can I eat while also typing? It seems impractical. Might as well enjoy the next one to four episodes of my repeated TV binge and just go to Butler later.

9:24 p.m. Finally consider heading over to Butler. But wait, how will I nourish myself? I should pack some snacks.

9:30 p.m. Discover I have already eaten all my snacks except two lonely Nutri-Grain bars. Stick those in my bag and begin the long–well, not long, but lonely–walk to the But.

10:30 p.m. Finally find a seat that fits my strict criteria: decent Wi-Fi, food allowed, and doesn’t smell like any part of the human body.

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Opinion | Oct. 21 12:01 pm EST

Dreaming again

J. Paxon Reyes / flickr

Yesterday, an e-mail on behalf of National Novel Writing Month popped into my inbox.

“Dear Burgeoning Novelist,” it said. “I’m writing to tell you I need you. I’ve been swirling around in the breathtaking labyrdinths of your unconscious mind for a while now, and I’m itching to leap into the world. The only way I can come out, though, is if you commit to writing me in November.”

It was signed off with a simple, “Your Novel.”

At 13, I was working on a full-length novel for the first time. I never finished that novel and abandoned my next one at just shy of 25,000 words. I had been writing that one just before I came to college.

The e-mail reminded me of how long it has been since then. But though I want to restart, I know that I have too many papers, midterms, and other college-related commitments to spend this November writing. I closed the e-mail and went onto the next one.

The girl I was when I wrote my college essays dreamt of changing the world through scientific research, writing and other lofty aspirations. I had some trepidation, sure, but because the future was far enough away, I could ignore it and dream of great things.

Somewhere along the way, I settled into a routine and stopped dreaming dreams of greatness. Where I used to think about changing the world, now I only hope to make a positive difference. More »


Spectrum | Oct. 12 4:15 pm EST

Midterm Snacks


Welcome to the best and worst part of your semester—midterms. Best in the sense that its the first of many (and we mean many) moments here at Columbia when life may seem like an endless search for a seat in Butler at 9 p.m. However, luckily for you we have compiled a list of must-eat snacks for the energetic and happy student!

1. Goldfish and Chex Mix

This mix of salty goodness will keep you entertained and full during your time in the library. Buy in bulk at Morton Williams or Westside, and always keep a ziplock mix handy!


2.Greek Yogurt
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Opinion | Oct. 9 12:06 pm EST

On quitting

kirainet / flickr

I remember my freshman year, during our first CC ’14 Lit Hum class in Roone Arledge Auditorium, Christia Mercer called out the accomplishments of my classmates. Among us were Olympic athletes and award-winning scientists. Countless editors-in-chief and class presidents. Thousands of the most interesting individuals to be found. We are all winners.

Quitting is not in our vocabulary.

Last week, I made the decision to drop my sixth class. As a double major who studied abroad, this was no easy decision to make—I’ve been used to taking six classes or having an internship for most of college. I’ve been used to thriving in an environment where deadlines supersede sleep. More »


Spectrum | Mar. 9 6:08 pm EST

These haikus might make you feel better about your time at the library

Wikiemedia Commons

So, there I was, sitting and pondering how one-sided my relationship with the library truly is. I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could win over the love(s) of my life with a few haikus.

Rather than devoting my time to my midterms, I devoted my time to the meter that would bring me true love.


Always there for me
Spending our nights together
Hold me, 209


Too weak to hold books
Quite a deceiving façade
Study? Not in Low.


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