Students work against Mercury in retrograde during midterms


I’m just checking in from the overwhelming whirlwind of a time that is midterm season here at the College of William and Mary. But honestly, when isn’t it midterm season? The first week of classes? Finals week?

That’s all I’ve got. Professors are constantly assigning large essays and giving exams which they all confusingly call our midterms, even when there are at least three per semester per class.  However, I don’t want to blame my professors for my midterm season stresses.

It’s not their fault that I have four other intense classes to study for, and that I would rather watch YouTube for hours and somehow find myself watching clips from TLC’s television show “Extreme Cheapskates” than do my hundreds of pages of reading and my calculus homework. I also wouldn’t blame myself, though. As much time as I might waste every day, I still put in hours upon hours of work in order to just barely keep up with everything.

So, if I cannot blame my professors or myself, who else is there? Who should I blame for the intense struggle of midterm season? The answer is becoming increasingly obvious to me every day: I blame the fact that Mercury is in retrograde.

Now, I know that this is ridiculous. What does a planet’s placement in space have to do with my life as a student on campus? To be honest, I have absolutely no idea. My only knowledge about astrology comes from Instagram posts that assign 12 current memes to the 12 zodiac signs. All I know is that when Mercury goes into retrograde, people who study astrology start using Mercury as their excuse for why their life isn’t turning out how they planned.

Also, apparently Mercury enters retrograde about three times a year for about three weeks each time. This year, Mercury was in retrograde during the middle of both the fall and spring semesters, also known as midterm season. I’m not saying I believe in a planet causing problems for students worldwide, but I also don’t think that there’s anything wrong with stepping back from the situation at hand, taking a deep breath, realizing that life isn’t going your way and accepting certain issues as something out of your control. I don’t think you should give up, but I do think that students here at the College in general are guilty of stressing about issues over which they have no control.

For example, if you have three tests and two essays due in a week, instead of blaming your professors for slamming you with work or blaming yourself for not getting ahead of your work previously, there’s nothing wrong with accepting that “the universe” dealt you a bad hand and just trying your best to get through it until it’s over.

I don’t think there is a problem with embracing this quasi-science as a means to relax and enjoy your life a little more. Life shouldn’t be so deep that you cannot have a little fun and embrace silly things like astrology. It doesn’t hurt anyone to believe, or at least pretend to believe, in a special property that the universe has over society. It’s not like astrology is the same as essential oils or holistic medicine, two money-grabs that are not supported by science and that hurt people who actually need medical attention.

Personally, I think it’s hilarious, and it lightens the mood to yell, “Ugh, I can’t wait until Mercury isn’t in retrograde anymore” with your friends in your harder times.

Maybe, when Mercury leaves retrograde March 10, you can have a little celebration. I suggest, during this stressful week before spring break, as well as for future reference, to take a step back and not put too much weight on stresses that arise. I know that it’s hard to just let go, and I am not suggesting that you do so 100 percent. Just let go of whatever surplus or extraneous stress that you have and blame Mercury for being in retrograde.

Email Alyssa Slovin at


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