By Tiffany Lloyd
In the lead-up to exams, many students wonder how to power through intense cramming sessions. In an attempt to find out, I tried a different energy drink (and a few other things just for fun) each day for seven days, hoping I would stumble upon something that could push crammers into the early hours of the morning. I documented my progress to provide you with a wealth of knowledge for when a healthy diet, plenty of water and lots of sleep have failed (and let’s face it, they will).
Day One: POWERADE (electrolyte energy drink)
While Powerade is considered a sports drink that promotes hydration rather than increased mental stamina, I fondly remember red liquid-induced bursts of energy throughout my childhood. I therefore deduced that red Powerade may cause similar results. To test this, I downed a 600ml bottle only to procrastinate by doing handstands in my lounge room. Unsatisfied with my results, I drank another bottle while reading a chapter from a text book, alternating between bouncing on a gym ball and balancing on the arm of my lounge as I read. I then realised Powerade was the ideal choice if I needed to run a couple of kilometres to reach my text book. However, it had zero impact on increasing my concentration level.
Day Two: MOTHER (caffeinated energy drink #1)
As I had a test the following day, I needed to maximise my concentration and commit an excessive amount of new knowledge to memory. Knowing this, I began sipping my 500ml can of Mother while reading my text book and taking notes. After finishing one can, my eyes felt heavy and my mind began to drift, so I drank the second hoping I was simply overtired and that more caffeine would help overcome this. Unfortunately, all this achieved was an intense headache and an unprecedented hatred towards anything academic. The empty cans were quickly crushed and thrown across the room before I collapsed into bed.
Day Three: V (caffeinated energy drink #2)
After Tuesday’s failure, I was praying V would not let me down. I was too frightened to drink the 500ml can before the test in case I crashed halfway through, so I saved it for later that night. What followed was a night of speed reading and writing, in which I managed to complete my research and write a debate speech. By two in the morning, I had only drunk half the can yet my work was finished. V was definitely looking like a sure winner
Day Four: NO-DOZ (caffeine tablets)
I heard mixed reviews about caffeinated No-Doz tablets, so I was curious to see how I would cope. As I stared down at the box of No-Doz sitting next to my computer, stories of heart palpitations and sleep difficulties played on my mind. Feeling brave, I popped one of the pills regardless. It only took around ten minutes for the tablets to kick in before suddenly I started doing everything at warp speed. I brushed my teeth vigorously, changed my clothes in record time and then sat in bed tapping my laptop keys and twitching my head. Although my body was moving constantly and my eyes were wired open, I couldn’t think straight. After an hour of nothing but fast body motions, I accepted I was not getting any work done and tried to fall asleep, but I couldn’t. I tossed and turned and repeatedly dashed for the light switch after seeing imaginary spiders on my roof. Day Five was not going to be a good day.
Day Five: RED BULL (caffeinated energy drink #3)
Today was a work day, so I saved the 350ml can of Red Bull until just after lunch when my energy would be lacking. I managed to finish work with a cheery smile and a productive attitude. Afterwards, I needed to drive two-and-a-half hours to visit my family for the weekend. As predicted, Red Bull – my trusty, faithful, energy-giving goddess in liquid form – did not let me down.
Day Six: COFFEE
No uni or work on Day Six, but I did have to get up early to watch my sister play her tennis grand final. I drank coffee before leaving, and again when I arrived at the tennis. As the coffee warmed my body, I sat comfortably on a cold bench and pondered if I would still be able to enjoy my cuppa if there was the intense pressure of a looming deadline.
Day Seven: MONSTER (caffeinated energy drink #4)
I left home at 8.30 at night and arrived back in Adelaide at 10.30. I then drank the 500ml can of Monster and drafted this article, so you can be the judge when deciding if my final energy enhancer was a success.
Maximum Concentration: V
Taste: Red Bull
Editors’ Disclaimer: You probably shouldn’t try this at home.