I don't know about you guys, but this week was midterm hell for me. Lots of late nights, time clocked in the library, and very little showering. But it got me thinking about how the right clothes/gear can help you study, and how maybe the right outfit can help you get a few more points on that exam (oh, how I wish I had worn my "negative capability" shoes to my Brit Lit midterm!).
Comfort, obviously, is key. When studying I like to wear ballet flats or other slip-on shoes so I can easily take them off and sit cross-legged or put my feet up on an adjacent chair or whatever. I'm a big fan of Xhilaration flats from Target, $14.99, although you should definitely put some gel insoles in the bottom for a little extra padding. They come in about a billion different prints (I have basic black and a fun gold), but I think this black-and-white floral design is especially Ivory Tower classy.
As for clothes, I'd just say jeans and a cute t-shirt. Make sure to bring some sort of thick sweater or puffy jacket, in case you want to take cat-nap. But one way to keep yourself awake: scented highlighters!
I truly believe that highlighters are the number 1 most essential tool for studying; I'd even put them ahead of lecture notes, copies of the reading, and Wikipedia. If you have the right highlighters, there's no way you'll fail. Last spring, at NYU's Strawberry Fest, I got a mini-pink highlighter that was, naturally, strawberry scented. It was pretty much the love of my life-- it made marking important passages in Equiano's "True and Fantasic Account of My Life as a Lying Son of a Bitch Who is in Every Anthology Ever Created and Probably Made it All Up, Although I'll Concede that African Slave or Not He Probably Had a Tough Life." Anyway, somewhere between then and now I lost that highlighter, and I'm very tempted to buy a replacement online. This website, Everything Smells, sells a wide variety of scented highlighters! There's ice cream scents (chocolate, mint, vanilla and strawberry), candy scents (apple, grape, lemon and watermelon), and the kind of weird movie scents (buttered popcorn, chocolate mint, orange soda and cherry licorice). These are very petite highlighters (around the size of your thumb), so you can throw a couple in your book bag and color-coordinate your notes. They're 79 cents, and non-toxic!
But oh no! These highlighters are making you hungry! But it's 1 am and nothing's open. Thank god for Insomnia Cookies. Every night, from 8pm to 2:15 am, the good people at Insomnia Cookies will deliver sweets to your dorm (well, not my dorm, since it's so far from campus) or library, and you'll get the sugar rush you need to keep studying. I've never ordered from Insomnia Cookies, but I've heard nothing but good things and I dream of the night that I'm working hard enough to warrant placing an order. They service schools other than NYU, and you can see the list here. They don't deliver to Columbia-- hehe, suck it. Most of the cookies are 90 cents each, and you can order brownies and milk, too. There's a minimum order of $6.00, so I give you permission to order a dozen and tell yourself, "Oh, I'll bring the rest home for my roommate/save them for tomorrow/give them to my fellow studiers," and then eat them all when you're about to pass out at 5:30 am.
But if Insomnia Cookies doesn't service your campus? Hello, go to the vending machines! I really like studying in the library, because then I get to take little vending machine field trips. I ask someone respectable looking to watch my stuff (because if I take it with me someone will steal my seat or use the outlet I staked out, and also it prevents me from giving up and going home as soon as I walk by the exit), take the elevator down to the atrium, go down to the basement, look at the selection in all three food vending machines and four drink machines, make a choice, hopefully find someone I know in the lounge to chat with, and then head back upstairs. On a good night I can waste half an hour getting a snack.
What you get from the vending machine is your own choice, of course, but I like a snack that's fragmented, like M&M's instead of a chocolate bar. This way, I can implement a food-based reward system, like for every page of notes I read I can have three Goldfish crackers. If you're in the quiet study room where there's no food or drink, gummy bears are awesome because they're a mostly silent candy. Also, you can pretend that there's some sort of fruit serving in what you're eating, and thus feel less guilty.
But back to clothes: what should you wear to the exam? Today I decided to take the "clothes make the girl" approach and dressed as if I was perfectly confident and prepared. Woke up early to shower, blow-dried my hair, wore a dress, the whole bit. But then, as I watched my fellow students file into the exam room, I realized this was a mistake! I should have looked like shit so my professor would see me and say to herself, "There's a student who killed herself studying last night; I'm going to give her an extra point just out of pity." And I think I would have gotten two extra points if I had slummed it in NYU gear (because who doesn't like school spirit, right?). Perferably it would all be clothes I got for free freshman year, but the NYU Bookstore will do, too. I'm not going to patronize you by listing prices and links, since I know you're not going to buy a pair of NYU flip flops.