This added pressure forces most people to adjust their study habits. Many students work harder, longer, or find methods to increase their academic efficiency. I’ve adapted by preparing myself for the inevitable career switch to some sort of trade school. Kevin, unfortunately, has fallen prey to a far more sinister path…
Recently during lecture, one of our professors relayed a humorous anecdote about his freshman year of college. In preparation for an exam, he had taken an ill-advised number of caffeine pills to gear up for an all-night learning extravaganza. Tears, as is often the case when anyone labels anything an “extravaganza,” were around the immediate corner; he was jittery, unable to study, and couldn’t even hold a pen in his hand when he entered the test completely sleep-deprived the next morning. Most people would react to such a story by learning a valuable lesson about using caffeine in moderation. Kevin? Not so much.
I’ll let him describe his thought process:
"Hmm...the professor is saying something, maybe I should listen. I like words! Caffeine pills to study for a test? That sounds like a good idea. Let me do a cost-benefit analysis. I'm already spending quite a few dollars buying coffee day in and day out. Why not switch to the pill form? After all, it’s considerably cheaper and more convenient, with the only difference being the stigma attached to taking a pill. I'll pick up a small bottle of No Doz over the weekend and use it as necessary. And, in other news relevant to this particular internal monologue, I’ve reached the obvious conclusion that David is far superior to me in many ways. I’ve come to view him as something of a demigod amongst the mere mortals that populate this particular institution. Self, let me enumerate the ways in which he brightens the world. Number one…"
Ok, so I may have fabricated some, or all, of the preceding stream of consciousness. Yet after Kevin brain-birthed the severe preemie that was this particular idea, I bore witness to the ebbs and flows of his No Doz-fueled journey. Here’s a running timeline of my observations:
1pm: Kevin is visibly tired. He’s nodding off a bit in class and mentions that he had to wake up extremely early to prepare for a lab meeting. His week is off to a good start.
2pm: Kevin puts his plan into action, taking one No Doz and washing it down with a Coke.
3pm: Kevin is taking notes like a madman. Holy crap, he’s a learning machine. How much knowledge can one man accumulate? Maybe he’ll remember me when he’s President of Medicine…
11pm: Kevin is online, working on an abstract he needs to submit for his research project. He indicates that it’s going to be a really long night. Good thing he had that No Doz earlier.
1pm: Kevin was up all night working on the abstract and only got a few hours of sleep. The solution? You guessed it - No Doz II: Son of No Doz. And he’s off to that rarified air of godly productivity most people can hardly fathom…
Midnight: Kevin is online. He has to get up early tomorrow yet again, but hasn’t been able to fall asleep.
Kevin: Ohhh noooo…I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.
12:30pm: Kevin, apparently unaware of the causal relationship between No Doz and his deteriorating QoL, stumbles into class on the strength of sheer willpower and an early-morning No Doz.
Kevin: I think I should’ve paid attention when they talked to us about D.A.R.E. in 5th grade.
David: I’m pretty sure we saw your story on a PSA. Except your name was Johnny…and then you died.
David: If you develop an arrhythmia, can I listen?
2pm: Kevin is struggling. His head is on the desk. Hm…what should I do? Send him my notes? Try to wake him up? Or I could just poke him. Yeah, I’ll just poke him.
Julia: Uh, is Kevin OK? Maybe you should po-
David: Already on it.
David: Are you OK?
Kevin: I need to leave class to go take a nap.
David: So this is how it ends, huh?
Kevin: It’s been a good run.
David: RIP, good sir.
Kevin: I'm going home to sleep. Sooo tirrred.
David: Why is your eye twitching?
Kevin: Maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
Luckily, after a few nights of rest, Kevin was back to normal by the following week. His No Doz days are now behind him. He’s a little bit older, a little bit wiser, and ultimately not much worse for the wear. Plus, I’ve inherited some No Doz…