Skip to Main Content
Michigan State University

MSU Traditions: Shout Out Your Stress

Happy screaming student

MSU Traditions: Shout Out Your Stress

This finals week tradition lets MSU students close their books and blow off some steam.

There are a lot of great traditions that bring us together as Spartans. But there’s one unloved custom that unites every student every semester: finals week.

Final exams are nobody’s favorite. We all remember tucking ourselves into quiet spaces for an in-depth refresher on everything we learned. Despite the often-isolating nature of studying, there’s an unmistakable camaraderie between students during those long, sleep-deprived weeks. And Spartans have a unique way of releasing their pent-up anxiety and energy.

It’s called Midnight Scream.

Every night during finals week, students on campus open their windows or gather outside to—you guessed it—scream, shout, yawp and yell away their stress just as the clock strikes midnight. After a few minutes of hollering, Spartans head back to the books with a true sense of relief.

How campus sounds at the stroke of midnight

We asked Spartan alums about their Midnight Scream experiences. The question was met with (mostly) fond memories:

"When the clock strikes midnight and the rest of the world goes silent, Michigan State truly comes alive with Midnight Scream. You can feel the energy throughout campus, fueled by the sounds of every Spartan. On those late nights, among the hustle of student life, Midnight Scream serves as a reminder of our shared journey, ambitions, frustrations and, most importantly, our unwavering commitment to excellence. It reminds us that the pursuit of greatness knows no curfew. To future Spartan grads, let those echoes resonate. They are the soundtrack of our collegiate experience, which create the memories that define our time at MSU." – Mitch Kalleward, ’20

“The first time I experienced the Midnight Scream was as a second-year transfer student staying in Hubbard Hall. I was working on a final project, entirely unaware of the time, when a loud “AAAAHHHH!” sounded from somewhere below. It was quickly answered by shouts from various rooms on our floor. My roommate and I looked at each other and let out our own. Screams were still sounding off from every direction when we opened the window and heard the faint sounds of students venting out their finals-week solidarity across campus.” – Jessica Mussell, ’12, ’13

“We got a kick out of opening our windows and yelling through the screen. But I remember my suitemate used to get all salty about it—he was a morning person.” – Joe Mulka, ’17

“I lived in Brody Neighborhood my freshman year and spent most nights during finals in the study rooms. I remember hearing about Midnight Scream from older friends and I was so excited to participate. It was such a liberating yet also hilarious feeling. We would all laugh our way back into the study rooms feeling a bit lighter and a bit more encouraged to keep going. In hindsight, it was a great lesson to stop and let your emotions out during stressful times, and then hop back into it once you’re feeling better.” – Alexa Harris, ’21

“Midnight Scream wasn’t really my scene. My brain needs its beauty rest!” – Chad Burrows, ’10




Author: Tim Cerullo, '08