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Top 10 stress foods for finals

Staying nourished in desperate times

1. The granola bar in the bottom of your backpack

When did you put that in your backpack? Last week, last month, last semester? At this point, it is undoubtedly crushed into no more than a powder of crumbs — but that just makes it easier to eat right? Dig it out of the bottom of your bag in shame, and accept that your meal tonight tastes like cardboard. It’s probably a step above dining hall food anyways, and you can take solace in the fact that you’ll be home soon where the pantry is filled with real food — not three packages of oatmeal, a cup-o-soup and sadness.

2. The pages of the textbooks you never read

We all have that friend who actually keeps a tally of how many pages they didn’t read for class in a semester. My roommate’s is over 1,000 pages strong — which should be enough to sustain someone all the way through finals. Might as well not let that article on the economics of the QWERTY keyboard go to waste, at this point it’s the only way you’ll possibly digest the information. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and some finals are meant to be winged — at least that’s what I tell myself.

3. An entire carryout jug of Starbucks coffee

I may or may not have done this before, and I truly believe “drink a jug of coffee” should be the next YouTube challenge taken on by children across the world lacking proper adult supervision. This is not for the weak of heart — quite literally. Instead of spurring productivity, my heart was pounding probably at the same rate as a hummingbird’s wings, and I went home to stare at my bedroom ceiling until I stopped feeling as if I could either run six miles or throw up. That being said, I highly recommend it — especially during a high-stakes time like finals week.

4. Alderman sushi

Has anyone ever actually seen them put out the sushi? When does it even get placed in that open refrigerator that I don’t trust to actually keep things chilled? As if your table neighbors don’t already hate you for listening to music too loudly and whispering in the quiet section, might as well throw in the weird odor of library sushi. The best part about this choice of food is the lingering scent of soy sauce that will follow you throughout the day. If you avoid any queasy feelings for 24 hours after consumption, it’s a sign you should have more sushi for dinner tomorrow!

5. The chewed gum beneath your desk

Practical and cost effective, this snack is just waiting for you beneath the library table. Someone left it there as a gift just for you. With a never-ending supply, you’ll have the perfect treat to get you through finals and keep you full until you make the trek home. I hear gum helps keep you alert, and the germs of your fellow students will just help build up that immune system. What’s the flu once you’ve mingled with the germs of half the student body?

6. The Pie Guy

How is he still here? Who is buying his pies? Why are they so expensive for something so small? Truthfully, I have never purchased a pie from The Pie Guy, but finals seems like the perfect time to experiment. Instead of pondering the economic market of the 1760s, your time is probably better spent pondering the culinary market of U.Va. that somehow sustains and supports overpriced pies.

7. Someone else’s microwave meal

Every day around 7 p.m., the microwaves of Alderman and Clark Libraries provide the perfect opportunity for free dinner. Select a seat near the microwave and take vigil to wait for the perfect meal. That microwave meal that takes six minutes to heat up — there’s no way what’s-his-name is going to wait patiently the entire time. The second he looks away, it’s your time to swoop. Note — I am not endorsing this violation of the Honor Code. Enjoy at your own discretion.

8. Off-brand 5-Hour Energy

Why buy brand-name 5-Hour Energy, when you can purchase the Kroger brand? Disclaimer — having purchased off-brand 5-Hour Energy before, I will admit I did fall asleep shortly after chugging an entire bottle. I expected it to have similar effects to the aforementioned coffee jug incident, but instead found myself falling asleep in the library. I don’t know if this says more about my general level of caffeine consumption — which is very high — or the quality of Kroger 5-Hour Energy. Either way, it’s currently available for purchase in bulk.

9. The fruitcake in your freezer

A gift from your roommate’s grandma back during fall break, the family recipe fruitcake is just waiting for a sad college student to get hungry enough to defrost it. Have your most adult friend double check that the weird film on the cake is not indeed freezer burn. Your roommate’s grandma will be happy to hear that you enjoyed their thoughtfully baked treat months later in the wee hours of the morning. This is best washed down with the milk you’re not totally certain is still good and the eggs that are expiring the next day.

10. Free food from that club you’re not in

Like most students, you’re probably on at least five listservs you still haven’t taken the time to remove yourself from. Usually, this results in a weekly sigh of frustration as the secretary of [insert organization name here] is sending out yet another set of meeting minutes that likely nobody will read. However, during finals these listservs are highly lucrative. You’ll have the scoop on several sources of free food, coffee and blue books. Be sure to throw an enthusiastic thumbs up, and say “see you at the next meeting!” to the executive board member guarding the swag.