Meet Viyang Hao, the first dedicated student writer for Stony Brook Matters. Catch her experiences at Stony Brook University each month in Vi’s View.
Midterms are difficult. Even the environment created after midterms begin can be relentless.
Going into midterms for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. I had some sense that I would be under a great deal of stress. And that’s exactly what happened. I had just one midterm — better yet, it was online — but my mind felt frayed.
In my head, I had a mental checklist, ‘I have to get to my class by this time, study for this quiz for this class, watch these two lectures for another class, meet up with someone at this time, tidy this up.’ There were multiple instances when I looked at the time, and it somehow ended up being 1 a.m. already, and I still had more on my to-do list.
I’ll be honest: I completed my online midterm at 4 a.m. simply because that was when I had the time to sit down and do it. My studying had paid off, as I got an A, but, arguably, I shouldn’t have taken my midterm when I should have been sleeping. But the restless night wasn’t as daunting as completing my first-ever college essay.
There were countless evenings when I stayed up late writing and rewriting. My friends could easily tell that it was going to be a long night when I had a White Monster energy drink with me for an energy boost and a bottle of Diet Coke for emotional support.
Despite the missed hours of sleep, the time I spent between studying and running around sleep-deprived has been special. When I told a friend who was also staying up late that I had never gone on a late-night run to 7-Eleven, or even stepped into one, they immediately stopped what they were doing and took me there. We grabbed a bag of Cheetos, some coffee, and a Slurpee to help us burn our midnight oil.
On another late night, we were walking back to our study location after grabbing takeout food from East Side Dining. Walking together, we randomly looked up to see a student placing fake bloody handprints on their dorm window. The student even saw us and cheerfully waved. At first, we didn’t know what to think. We stood there in disbelief for a moment before quickly walking down the pathway, laughing hysterically on our way.
Even the googly eyes that randomly appeared on Wolfie one night in East Side Dining made my group of friends and I burst into laughter while we anxiously awaited our midterm results.
It was these small moments that most likely helped to preserve my sanity during midterm season. This time in the semester is also a great reminder that sometimes focusing on the now is more important than focusing on the future.
Oh, wouldn’t you look at that? Round two of the midterms is coming up. Back to sipping on energy drinks, coffee, and Slurpees from 7-Eleven…
— Viyang Hao ’26