UCSD Professor Assigns Controversial Vibe Check Instead of Midterm


Written by: Sharon Roth

Sources later confirmed that none of the answers were correct.
Photo by Jack Yang

Dr. Frank N. Stein of UC San Diego made waves in the academic community by reimagining the very notion of a midterm. Typically, professors write a series of multiple choice or free response questions to assess their students’ knowledge of the course material. In an interview, Dr. Stein revealed why he instead chose to assign a “vibe check” as a way to assess his students’ characters and mental state. A vibe check is an invitation for someone to express how they’re feeling. This phrase can also accompany imagery of one person hitting another with a blunt object, or simply knocking them to the floor. Dr. Stein chose to highlight the empathetic aspect of this new trend, claiming that he wanted students to be “in tune with themselves” as they enter midterm season.

Dr. Stein said the idea came to him “as if someone hit me over the head with a baseball bat.” Speaking in detail, Dr. Stein said, “I kept seeing these memes captioned ‘vibe check,’ and I wanted in. Furthermore, instead of piling more stress on students, I wanted to check in on their well-being. At first, I wanted to do what those memes did by slapping my students, but I was reminded that would violate school policy, and potentially not actually help them. I just want to know if my students are what they call ‘real’ ones or if they’re just here to fulfill a GE.”

The assessment began by giving each student a mood ring and a crystal of their choice, followed by a Myers-Briggs personality test, alignment chart, and a Buzzfeed quiz called “Tell Us Your Relationship Deal Breakers And We’ll Tell You Your Soulmate’s Hair Color.” Each students’ results were carefully analyzed by their TAs, who weren’t told of this change in advance. Brian N. Ajar, who teaches the 12 a.m. discussion section, said that he’s “not sure what their selection of crystal says about their physics knowledge. Either way, they all failed the midterm.”

Students reportedly felt unsure about how to study for such an assessment. Second year S. Kellyton claims he spent so long researching personality tests he forgot his own name. The piazza site was swamped with questions and expressions of concerns from students. Gorgon Zola posted: “It’s midterm season, so I’m trying to repress my emotions. If anyone asks me how I’m doing, I’ll snap like a piece of dry spaghetti.” Jim Horton replied, “Honestly, I would’ve preferred being hit over the head with a brick instead of having to think about my feelings.” Another student, who requested to remain anonymous, said he was confused as to why Professor Stein changed the midterm to this revolutionary new exam since “the dude has rancid vibes. It’s never a good sign when your professor would fail his own exam.”

Graphics Editor at The MQ

Sharon was “born” in 1801. She inspired the Archie Comics, which later inspired the hit TV show Riverdale.

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