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Dear Abby: Must I Behave During Midterms?

So here we are, in the midst of midterms. Apologies for not writing last week; even I am capable of bad behavior, particularly procrastination. But now that I’m back from my self-imposed hibernation, I’m here to provide you with some helpful hints for appropriate midterm behavior.

First, we feel for you, O Person Who Has Spent the Last Four Days in the Library. Good news! I’m hereby declaring that spending an entire week studying in the same pair of sweatpants is completely acceptable, even if by the end, they are covered in coffee stains, errant highlighter marks and melted chocolate or grease marks (depending on your stress food of choice). Just be sure to wash them after your hell week.

Furthermore, let’s discuss stress eating. Ordering $40 worth of Chinese food and then eating it alone in your room without offering any to your roommates? Perhaps not the most gracious behavior, Emily Post may even be upset with you, but I proclaim: It’s fine, midterms leave you with a little leeway in terms of what exactly is “polite." However, stealing your roommate’s last chocolate bar, eating it secretly and then telling her she must have lost it? One step too far; even I draw the line at theft.

Now there are lots of other little nuances I should probably cover: cell phones, talking in the library, playing one’s music too loudly, not cleaning up study areas… the list goes on. As our closing note, however, I’m going to go with one of my personal grievances: lying about amount of time studied. Sounds silly, no?

Allow me to paint a mental picture: You’ve been slaving over the same midterm for days, and you’ve officially given up and are shamelessly begging your friends and classmates for study tips, only to be answered with “Oh, I haven’t really started yet…I’m sure it won’t be too bad." Boo on that, particularly when you KNOW that person has made at least four hundred note cards. Come on kids, we all go to Penn. We all know that it can be miserable at times… Just admit it, you study. After all, everybody’s doing it.

On that note… Good luck!