I need to tell you a story about what happened to a fellow classmate back in Engineering School. But first of all, let me declare my bias. I am a coffee virgin, which means I have never consumed a cup of coffee – ever. The reason is that back in my undergraduate days, I saw my classmates drinking 8 to 12 cups/day to stay awake studying for exams… I thought, even then that consuming ANYTHING in that quantity can’t be good…
A Study Mistake To Avoid
That being said, my story takes coffee to a whole new level – caffeine pills. Back in my day, they were called ‘pick me ups’. They were sold over the counter without a prescription. Students took them INSTEAD OF or IN ADDITION to coffee – to stay up and cram for exams. Many students did this.
I did it – ONCE.
I had 3 consecutive days with 5 FINAL EXAMS, each 3 hours, worth 70 to 100% of the course final grade – Canadian Engineering Schools did this to flunk the least capable students ON PURPOSE…
Anyway – it was an ‘impossible’ schedule. So I planned it out. I would get some sleep on DAY ONE, then go straight through the other two days WITHOUT sleep to MAXIMISE every single minute in-between each 3-hour exam to memorise and review everything I could. I would go +/- 36 hours without sleep.
Does that mean I am condoning using caffeine or drugs to study?
Not quite – keep reading.
For the next week, I was totally drained… “brain dead”… I had never hit the wall like that ever before. I promised myself “never again”. Thank God it was the END of the SEMESTER.
I was not the only one to suffer these ‘after effects’… But I was one of the few to learn the lesson.
I had a classmate – I forget his name, we’ll call him John. John did not learn the lesson. He scraped by that semester and decided that the following semester he would use the pills for the midterms AND the finals. He got addicted to a false sense of confidence and started taking them at the BEGINNING of the semester.
By the time the midterms came around, he was strung out, exhausted and barely able to focus. He failed every single one of his midterms. By the time the final exams came around, he was on his last legs. He failed those too.
The sad part is John was smart enough to be an Engineer, just not smart enough about HOW TO STUDY WITHOUT CUTTING CORNERS.
John got expelled from Engineering School and his destiny forever altered – because of caffeine pills that he thought would help.
The moral of the story is that there are two ways to try to get ahead faster- take a short cut by learning better study strategies or CUT CORNERS by trying to cheat by taking drugs or otherwise.
I taught myself HOW TO STUDY more effectively rather than spending MORE time – that is how I came about writing my study book. I became so good AT studying that people around me kept asking how I managed to get ‘it all done’ AND have a life outside of school…
I learned the lesson the FIRST TIME – I never took another caffeine pill after that – NEVER NEEDED TO.
If you find yourself in the situation where you need to take pills to stay up late at night studying – I can tell you right now – YOUR STUDY HABITS SUCK.
When I started my Engineering Degree, I was taking 4 or 5 courses per semester. In my last semester, I took a WHOPPING 7 COURSES at the same time – to finish my degree in 3 1/2 years graduating with a DOUBLE MAJOR.
All possible BECAUSE I learned HOW TO STUDY.
Whenever tempted by drugs to stay awake or HIGH CAFFEINE DRINKS – DON’T START. They are addictive drugs that will have consequences… Consequences that could rob you on the very dream you have – the REASON you are considering taking them in the first place.
Don’t do it.
Learn HOW to study instead.