One sign of approaching midterms is the increasing number of students in comfortable clothes—trainers, joggers, baseball caps and glasses—who appear all over the Ewha campus busily walking to their destinations. “I do see many of tensed students with their baseball caps on, wearing less makeup, shampoo, soap and all that. I guess all these show that it is students’ ‘crunch time’ for their exams,” said Professor Jasper Kim (International Studies). Those looking for other signs of the midterm crunch have no further to look then the Ewha Centennial Library.
During the exam period, the number of students visiting the Centennial Library to study increases significantly. “About 14,500 students come to study in the library when the exam approaches. The whole staff in the library including janitors, security guards, librarians and intern students get extremely busy as students come in and out every second or so. However, the number of students coming to the library plummets to 4,000 once the exams are over,” said a security guard at the Centennial Library.
Choi Eun-sim, who works in the library snack bar, describes it as “a battlefield,” during the midterm. “Normally, we only display one tier of individually packed cookies. But, during the exam period, students never stop coming so we display a three-tier cookie mountain,” she said. The snack bar also extends its closing hour from to and certain products sell out rapidly during the exam period. “Toothpaste and toothbrushes for those who spend the night in the library, and ready-to-eat meals like Bibimbap and Bulgogi with rice sell four times more quickly than usual,” said Choi.
Along with the increase of sales in the snack bar, the amount of garbage at the library also grows. “Usually we collect about three bags of garbage each day, but about four days before exams it increases to nine,” says Shin Jung-ae, the head janitor. “Toilet paper is consumed so quickly that we have to change it many times, but it is never enough.” Because of the sleepless nights so many Ewha students spend in the library during the exam period, there is even a legend of one student who lived there during exams, called the Suitcase Girl. “Whenever the exams approached, one student packed up her stuff in a suitcase and walked into the library, where she lived for about two weeks until the exams were over. She took showers in the student dormitory and went to classes from there. It’s sad that she graduated and we can’t see her anymore,” said Kim Sol-bi (Education, 4).
Before the library seats were managed electronically, some other interesting scenes were spotted too. “To reserve a seat in the reading room, this one girl covered the seat with newspapers on top and on both sides. No one could even attempt to squeeze into that area,” said Lee You-young (Educational Technology, 4). But now, you can’t see scenes like that; instead there is a long line in front of the seat-reserving machine,” added Lee.
The midterm period is when flowers blossom and the spirit of spring embraces students on the Ewha campus. Until last year, the mid term exams greeted the students earlier at Ewha than at other universities. “I have never been to the cherry blossom festival in