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The Dartmouth
May 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Study buddies: food, libations and drugs

Study buddies may come in all sizes and shapes from the little pop-able pill to the Screech-esque wire-spectacled dork in your rocks-are-NOT-for-f*ing-jocks-class. You all know the guy we're talking about: he sits in the front row of class in a large lecture hall with his laptop propped open, violently jotting down every word out of the professor's mouth. Verbatim. Blitz during class? Not even a fleeting thought in his mind. The only time we have ever brought a computer to class, it has been in blatant attempt to shut out every word coming from the professor's mouth, or to play Tetris. This is your time, it's midterms. Befriend the nerd. Use him for all he's worth. No one is looking to fail out of this place.

Ironic as it is, studying is harder for the average college student than some like to think. As a special middle-school science teacher used to say, school is your job. Looks like a lot of us are unemployed.

But with midterms on the horizon, all Dartmouth students are on the prowl for the ideal study mate. As seniors and procrastinators, here are a few things that have worked (mas o menos) for us over the years.


This is probably the most influential element to a good study. Like with a good workout, it is necessary to fuel the body. Food can be the best friend (or study buddy) you've got. It is important to pick an enduring food -- one whose munch lasts for hours on end.

Some best bets:

Sunflower seeds: They take care of the salt craving, they keep your mouth busy and entertained, and they're a great source of protein. Plus, when you're nervous, you can stuff 'em in by the fistful. Alas, there is a downfall: you need a special spitting cup for the shells -- one extra factor to wrap your mind around while under the stress of reading all your course material for the first time in one night.

Chips: Another source of endless munching. You can stick your grubby little fingers into the greasy bag over and over again. And they have that ever-so satisfying 'crunch.' However, watch out for the fat-free chips packed with Olestra. You'll be on the crapper all night; not what you are looking for on a night devoted to cramming.


Coffee: The most trustworthy and popular study beverage. Hot, comforting and jam-packed with caffeine. Available at all the key spots on campus in a variety of forms -- cappucinos, lattes, flavored, Frappucinos. You know the drill.

Red Bull, Rockstar: No partying like a Rockstar tonight, but maybe you can study like one. Rockstar is now available in the Novack vending machines. Red Bull is available everywhere on campus. In bulk. Remember: Red Bull gives you wings.

Coke/Diet Coke: Not bad to give your studying a kick start. Unlike some of the other caffeinated buddies we have recommended, a caffeinated soda may just add a teeny weeny bit of a jolt to your late night. We are both immune to the effects of a good Diet Coke, but perhaps if you drink the better part of a six-pack, your eyes and brain will perk up. However, the Coke fix can be great because you can take swigs all night and not go crazy. Two or three Red Bulls and most of us are officially cracked out.

Bottom line: study libations must be caffeinated. And very much so. If you overdo it on the caffeine, maybe you can add some water to your routine. Being well hydrated cannot hurt.

Oh, and make sure there is a bathroom nearby. All these liquid buddies run through the body quite quickly.


We all have our favorites in this category. Here, the authors' opinions diverge. One of us is on the get-dressed-for-success boat and the other is of the, "I like to wear the same sweats for the whole week of midterms" persuasion. Houck: Dude, I don't get dressed up. Dana: I just have a particular favorite "study shirt," my white button down -- it makes me feel like an academic.

Maybe you have a lucky boa. Do what works, wear whatever makes you feel comfortable. After all, you're looking for a study friend.


The real last resort. We don't condone, but let's face it, when you are in a pickle, you're in a pickle.

Nodoz: the most easily obtainable friend in the pill form. Available at Topside, this pill is an easy swallow-able tablet form of the study elixir -- caffeine. Nodoz works as advertised: there is "no doze" in your future. Just be careful you don't get so hopped up that sitting down and even contemplating working becomes an impossibility.

If you are looking for anything stronger, don't come to us. We are not in the pharmaceutical biz and do not we want to be.

But seriously, be careful, there remains the legend of a friend who once mistook a horse tranquilizer for a study-buddy pill. We shall give you the story straight from the horse's mouth. As the anonymous female relayed to us: "I just remember being really desperate freshman year, because I was pulling an all-nighter, trying to write a paper and study for an exam. I took this enormous pill that was probably fine for a 250-pound football player, but for me it just sent me over the edge. I turned into a total schizo and ended up vomiting all over my room." Let's just say, not a good scene. So back to the point: friends in the pill form, we do not condone. Use at your own risk.

So pick your poison. Studying with no buddy is real lonely. A real downer if you will. Do what makes you happiest; compare strategies. Everyone roaming around the library at 3 a.m. looks like garbage -- pale faces, slits for eyes, un-showered, revved on caffeine. Instead of complaining about the egregious load of work ahead, find a buddy and get down to the nitty-gritty.