Monday, December 14, 2009

Finals survival guide!

Temperatures have dropped, a special buzz fills the air, eager anticipation is everywhere. This could only mean one thing! No, not the holiday season (believe me, Christmas cheer is a very distant feeling at this time). Rather, for the next few days, my world revolves solely around final exams.

Compared to the vast majority of my classmates, who are now spending more time at the library than at home, I am relatively calm about finals. However, this isn't really saying much. With tests in subjects ranging from microeconomics to paranoia and conspiracies in American history (yes, it really is as interesting as it sounds!), my mind is constantly jumping from one topic to another.

With so much resting on the filling in of a few little bubbles on multiple choice tests, it is easy to become overwhelmed. That is why, this year, I am allowing myself a little space to step back and enjoy a few "indulgences." Here is a little glimpse into what keeps me sane throughout finals:

All around campus, coffee is at an extreme premium. If my economics class has taught me anything, it is that coffee shops could probably get away with charging double at this time: With a skyrocketing demand, some students would be willing to sell their mother's for a cup o' Joe.
Coffee has magical powers in helping me concentrate!

In my attempts to avoid the exotic breed of sleep-deprived, coffee-seeking college students, I have found a haven in "The Scone Lady" coffee shop. Located conveniently close to my house, this shop is populated more by cheery groups of old friends, stealing some time to catch up over a cup of tea, than by frantic students. I am always able to stake out the same space, plug in my computer, and do some serious studying while enjoying a calming cup of coffee (and eavesdropping on the occasional church group gossip!).

My gym: Note the Food Network on the TV!

True fact: a little caffeine buzz can increase performance in a workout by up to 25%... and this isn't only scientific baloney! Some of my best runs have come after a cup of coffee. So then, after a relaxing and productive morning at The Scone Lady, I am ready for a workout. I'm not usually to eager to face the blustery winter weather, but I have the great option of a gym to keep me moving. I get the satisfaction of treading a few miles, while catching up on the latest episodes on the Food Network; I know, kind of crazy, but for some reason, Paula Deen is good motivation!

Wearing my apron gives me a strange sense of invincibility!

Still needing a little relief from hitting the books, and feeling inspired by the Food Network, I often seek out any excuse to put on my apron! This week, in preparation for a month at home, I've been trying to use up the last of of my food reserves. The result: "Monster Cookies!" This delicious (and nutritious!) little goobers start off with an easy batter of oats, whole wheat flour, a single egg, honey, and some sugar. I then add my own personal touch with crasins, crumbled pretzels, walnuts, banana chips, cinnamon chips, shredded coconut, some flax seeds, and a little cinnamon. To take it one step further, I added a little Cayenne pepper to some of the dough (this turned out to be a spicy/delicious success!). Let me know if you want the complete recipe.A warm cup of tea is the next best thing to a nighttime lullaby!

After a long day of studying, there is no better way to calm down and unwind than enjoying a cup of tea. My only connection to the rumored "holidays", I love trying out new seasonal blends, like "sugar cookie sleigh ride," as well as my stand-bys of "cinnamon apple spice" and "orange spice" tea.

So that's basically it. My guide to sanity during finals. It may not be too much, but it is enough to sustain me for a few days of craziness!


  1. I agree about coffee boosting your workouts, it helps with my runs, as well as tackling a messy house!

  2. Thanks for your super sweet comment on my blog. When is your foot surgery? I agree its mostly mental to get over the obstacles and the anxious anticipation but wish you the best and we can share recovery stories :)

  3. ha, I'm with you on the coffee shop and am sure their business is doing quite well :)

  4. Hi! Yep. I went to UNC, graduated in December 2001. So, yes, getting a job was kind of amazing right after 9/11. But sad to say I'm being laid off in October. (My entire department, actually, bc my company is creating a consolidated editing center in two other states.) I'm trying to decide what I want to do; I have to admit that I'm *finished* with the newspaper industry - it is TOUGH. Good luck! And take my advice. Avoid newspapers! (I wish someone had told *me* that back in the day!)