A compilation of random and interesting things, musings, musics, videos, and more. Brought to you by a UChicago student with a penchant for procrastination.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Cram Session Sustenance

As a follow up on my How to Survive Finals post and because I have a bunch of procrastination-based photos floating about: here's a recap of what I did as a study break during my intense finals review, complete with tips on what is and ISN'T a good idea for midnight snack-age.

Stopping at the campus convenience store can yield a bounty of foods beneficial to the cause of a late night food break. Mac & cheese, different sandwiches, soups, or pizza type things are generally good as they're light enough to feel like a snack - but not the kind of sugary, highly carb based creations that're going to knock you out in a couple of hours. Thankfully our campus food and coffee shop, Bart Mart - located in Bartlett Hall, is open until 2 AM on the weekdays - making these sustenance and caffeine stops easy.

After picking some seemingly filling looking foods and paying with flex dollars, I walked back over to my dorm and got my snack-on! With a box of cheese-filled garlic bread sticks and a cup of Cambell's Soup-at-hand ... on hand, my hours of watching the Food Network would finally pay off in the crafting of this finals night meal.

Ultimately, the soup sort of made me think of airline food, with that sort of added flavoring that makes even the most uninteresting and otherwise blah foods passable - but for the trade-off of being portable, I think it works. Just make sure to mix it with a spoon (or in my case, chopstick) after it comes out of the microwave - otherwise it forms a sort of soupy skin layer.

And I've gotta admit, the bread sticks were surprisingly good ... although I would mainly attribute that to our semi-functioning house toaster oven. I'm almost sure that if I had tired using the microwave the results would've been somewhat sad and probably soggy.

All in all though, the snack was a good thing to have before delving back into a study of the vestibulo-cochlear systems. Even though I don't look too excited in the photo above - truly - how can anyone be unhappy when reading about the marvels of, um, whatever that marvelous structure in the ear was?

While the snack is important, the thing that's really going to ensure you'll be awake is your choice of energy drink - and for college students normal coffee just doesn't work anymore! Indeed, the heavy stuff if almost mandatory when a real cram session is in order.

If the $7 four-pack of Starbuck's doubleshot wasn't going to do the trick, nothing would!

Of course, I have to admit - I was already in possession of a so called caffeinated beverage back in my dorm room. Found in a Chinatown convenience store, Mr. Brown was the magical beverage I had relied on when faced with a Calculus final exam and an entire night of review during my first semester of college. Marked by a squat little can with an endearing character grinning on it's front, Mr. Brown definitely seemed like the kind of guy who would help you out, without asking too many questions. Yet when matched up against the stoic Starbucks coffee mermaid, could the jovial Mr. Brown stand a chance?

I knew I would feel bad for picking the sleek and confident can design of the doubleshot over the squat yet loveable Mr. Brown iced coffee. Yet the situation called for the hard stuff. While Mr. Brown's $1 pricetag was a welcome sight to a college student on a budget, this fact really only ensured a caffeine kick, the flavor was rather watered down, and not unlike what I would imagine the essence of Brown to taste like.

Ultimately then, I hoped the higher reputation of the doubleshot would ensure energy drink supremacy.

After a couple of sips the potency of the doubleshot became obvious. With an almost thick coffee flavor (
definitely NOT watered down) the doubleshot certainly tasted like a drink of magical caffeinated properties. I hastily gulped down the rest of the stuff and, wanting to see how effective it could really be, I decided to get a quick caffeine nap. Well ... lets just say this stuff works - almost frighteningly well.

After 20 minutes of some highly bizarre dreams, as the caffeine entered my system, I awoke to quite possibly one of the worst, most unbearable coffee-aftertastes I think I've ever experienced! Sure the flavor was great as I took those initial sips, but this was a high price to pay -- so remember kids, brush your teeth before caffeine napping!

Admittedly in the aftermath of this little experiment I was more awake than I had been in something like the past 24 hours, but for a moderate to light coffee drinker such as myself I'll try to limit this behavior to major cram sessions only.
As the time whittled down on my clock, with study progressing at a steady rate, I definitely did not feel tired that entire morning, entering an almost intensely focused state at times (I did sort of miss blinking after a while). The final came and went without any trouble and by the time the stuff finally started wearing off it was already coming up on the evening. I had even managed to see Hans Blix speak at the Harris School of Public Policy after attending a French lector session that day.I couldn't have done it without you caffeine! Thanks!

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