Dictionary.com innocently updated its word of the day on Wednesday, defining a “middle term” as “middle or halfway to a term.” This simple act turned out to have far-reaching consequences. While the choice of the word “midterm” was not in itself problematic, the way it was defined hurt the feelings of many Stanford midterms.
CHEM 31 reacted quite violently, saying, “How can they assume that we are performing in the middle of the mandate?” Am I less valid just because I am in week 8? Do they imply that I am a final? How dare they allude to the fact that I am the source of so much more trauma than an ordinary, socially acceptable mid-point of week 6! “
Other intermediaries have taken a less aggressive approach, acknowledging that it’s not Dictionary.com’s fault, but rather the general tendency to try to define things. Anything that brings all of the mid-term reviews together in one seamless box is inherently problematic.
An article on Liberal Structured Education (SLE) passionately proclaimed: “Definitions are neither the source nor the solution to this problem because they can never fully grasp the fact that a medium term can be whatever he wants to be – a pset, a paper or even a podcast. Of course, not all midterms need to be at a reasonable time of day or contribute significantly to final marks or be in any way relevant to what is being taught in the classroom. Midterms come in all shapes and sizes. I just think it’s unreasonable to expect a definition to capture that. “
The Midterm Movement is hosting an event this weekend at the COE (We’re Confounding Courses) center called the Definition Discourse that invites people to talk about their views on this issue in a non-violent way.
Editor’s Note: This article is purely satirical and fictional. Not all attributions in this article are authentic and this story should be read only in the context of pure entertainment.