The 101: Finals Survival: Caffeine & Sleep

Jake Cochran, Editor-in-Chief

This could end up being the most cliché article ever, but it won’t be. This isn’t any other garbage .gif-based internet article, this is hard opinion based news, damnit.

The point of this 101 is to get the reader best prepared for the college experience that no one will actually talk about: the joy of sleeplessness and caffeine overdoses.

Reading that, the first thought to come to mind should be, “Hey I like sleep and I’ll just work ahead so I don’t have to drink enough caffeine to kill Nikki Sixx.”

If so, great, but it’s far too late to work ahead. Judgment hour is nigh and the guillotine that is deadline is about to drop and leave a headless victim if that paper doesn’t get finished. That won’t be good.

Here’s the scene: the last few weeks of the semester are here, and the workload has piled up to the 8×10 ceiling of your private little piece of hell. The last big push before the semester is over the horizon, and now it’s time to grab the ‘work’ hammer and smash the face of that workload .

The only problem is time, squandering away all those hours on Stumbleupon and Tumblr have come back with vengeance because the Dropbox closes at noon tomorrow and if that paper isn’t in there, your GPA will take a nice nosedive into the dirt.

So now there’s no other choice, it’s time for an all-nighter, maybe even a multi-day work binge depending on how poorly the semester was squandered away yelling at 12-year olds on Xbox Live. But honestly, the semester was a bear trap waiting to spring, no shame in falling for the GTA V-Call of Duty bait.

With the work-bed made it’s time to take a nap. This may seem like the most counterproductive idea of all time, but trust me, all the work will be done after this nap. Not really, but go to bed with work on your mind, set the alarm for two hours, wake up and all the ideas will be there.

Once the mild-coma is over, grab the nearest caffeinated substance and gobble that down like the Cookie Monster. Put whatever headphones or speaker system is around to the three-quarters volume mark and open some word documents.

The best recommendation is starting everything all at once because becoming disenchanted with an assignment is bound to happen, but when there are three windows open before the cursor hits desktop it’s significantly harder to get completely off-track.

Twenty minutes from the last sip of that sweet, caffeinated nectar, there should be a significant change in the speed of the keystrokes, and ideas from the depths of that gray matter will spill out like a broken dam. Expect the use of words from SAT Prep to somehow find their way onto the screen and extensive metaphors to embed themselves like ticks within the flesh of that document.

Once the dust settles around 6 a.m. the birds will begin to chirp and those literary superpowers will disappear just as they magically appeared, but now there are hopefully at least three assignments refined and tweaked, sitting on that desktop, ready to be handed in.

But here is the critical part that separates those that stand on the podium from those that just finish the race and take the participant medal. Find a person, give them that newborn paper and tell them to rip into it.

If there isn’t anyone around, bust out the webcam and do some public speaking 101 stuff. Read the paper verbatim on webcam and watch it back. This will be the best way to find where the errors are, and it’ll help with the overall tone of the paper. Just don’t look at the thing that’s holding the eyes in your skull, it’s probably drained of color and crypt-keeper-esque.

With the dreaded editing done, walk that bad boy across campus and turn it in.

After handing the papers in, find a nice landing spot because that mortal body is about to fall apart like a shuttle burning up in the atmosphere. Happy finals week.

The Cheat Sheet: Caffeination Effectiveness Scale

When it comes to getting work done, there are few things that are as completely necessary as being effectively caffeinated. This is my pseudo-scientific scale that rates my go-to caffeine selections, based on the criteria of energy level, duration of kick, productivity, creativity and focus.  I may not be a doctor and have little to no scientific basis for these ideas, but this paper is in your hands right now, and you can bet your ass I was effectively caffeinated to make that happen. Below you’ll find my suggestions, listed from worst to best:

7. Coffee:

It tastes like old shoes and it’s warm. I don’t have time for this. I’m not trying to look like an intellectual. I don’t need to brew up a pot of coffee. If I was going to sit around and talk about feelings, I’d prefer hemlock so the conversation could end quicker. Coffee might be some people’s go- to but it gets a terrible score on my scale.

6. Monster Energy Drink:

At one point in time I would have said this was the best out there, but at one point in time people thought the world was flat, that time wasn’t the brightest moment in history and the opinion of my 10-year-old self should be valued equally. Just like coffee, it might be for some people but those people don’t include me.

5. Rockstar Energy Drink:

On a taste standpoint this isn’t the worst thing in the world. A couple sips of this will have you feeling motivated but that’s only because I’m pretty sure this is what they put in hummingbird feeders. Rarely can you feel the sugar in a drink, but this is definitely one of those instances. It’s useful and workable, but by no means my first pick.

4. 5-Hour Energy:

In a world where everyone wants to pretend that their unhealthy habits are actually healthy, this would be the best choice. But the biggest problem with these is the idea that compared to alcohol, it’s the shot equivalent of energy drinks. It’ll send you from feeling great, to “I need to go lie down and die.” Handle these with care.

3. Amp Energy Drink:

This is probably my second most frequent energy drink of choice, but it’s not based on the idea it’s second best. Blue Amp or Purple Amp are really the only ones worth drinking ever, the Green one is just syrupy, the Red one is like cough medicine, and I don’t think anyone has ever drank an Orange Amp, (just check Rifkin, they never move). But convenience is a huge factor in this. I’ll be at the Beacon office any given day, creativity and motivation are running low, I grab one of those blue bad boys and, BAM! Pages are magically laid-out. Purple is acceptable but Blue is the go to here.

2. Red Bull:

These are my bread and butter. Realistically, I burn through a case and a half of these on any given production week, if there was Red Bull Breathalyzer Test  I’d blow a .75 on Saturdays easily. The reason why is not because of power, but the idea that these are long lasting and don’t get from incredibly creative to incredibly off-topic too quickly. Some of my best ideas come from this and have saved my collegiate career more than Wikipedia.

1. Cocaine Energy Drink:

Rarely in my life have I found an excuse to be this amped up; rarely, but that does not mean never. The times I’ve been downing these bad boys were, some last minute creative Christmas shopping, before Jiu-jitsu worlds and writing a twelve page law paper. Needless to say all that stuff was crushed; Christmas was great success, worlds I blew out everything in my knee in the first round and didn’t know until I was driving home, and that paper saved my GPA. Err on the side of caution here, but I’m not your mother, do as you will.