Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Lord of the Rings Finals Survival Guide

Happy almost-summer, for those of you in the college world!

Many of my good friends are slogging through their college finals right now, and I just wrapped up my own coursework for the semester last night.  Now that I have a life again, I'm posting a few tips from Middle-earth for your studying, cramming, speed-writing, 5-hour-energy-swilling enjoyment. Ni estel i le ve sa.

(That's supposed to mean "I hope that you like it" in Elvish.  I hope I translated correctly and don't offend any elves.  Most of the LOTR Elvish translation sites seem to be run on Angelfire and Tripod.  However, this means they must have been around since the Third Age of Middle-earth and are probably accurate.)

Step 1: Fuel up.

You can't do your best on an empty stomach!  Stop by the 7Eleven or RiteAid and pick up some lembas,  Elven bread that will keep you full for days, and wash it down with a flagon of Ent-draught, hair-curling magical spring water that will-

Wait, you can't buy that stuff at RiteAid.  Hmm.

Viable substitute!  Little Debbie Zebra Cakes and Red Bull (which will probably also make your hair curl, if you drink enough).  Not a Red Bull fan?  Just dissolve a half-dozen Altoids in a glass of Gatorade and toss it back.  Curiously strong, right?

Step 2: Suit up.


Comfort is important when preparing for finals.  You want to be comfy enough to focus on your work, but not cozy enough that you actually give in to slumber when you need to be memorizing the atomic weight of plutonium.  Therefore, a Forever Lazy is not an option.

A Forever Lazy should never be an option.

A hobbit cloak is warm and provides a nice hood to keep your roommate's TV out of your peripheral vision, but the rougher traveling material's not TOO blanket-y, so you won't be lulled into a stupor.  If you don't have a hobbit cloak, you can improvise with a jersey knit bed sheet and a long shoestring.

Step 3: Crank up.

Nothing inspires the human mind like music, but anything with lyrics can be majorly distracting while you're trying to analyze literature or calculate quadratics.  That's why you should take advantage of a free service like Spotify to create an epic film soundtrack playlist.

What to put on it?  Howard Shore's orchestral masterpiece scores for the LOTR trilogy, of course!  Nothing makes you feel victorious like wrapping up a paragraph of your term paper just as "The Battle of The Pelennor Fields" swells through your speakers.  The tunes of victory!  Sin tul i Rohirrim!

Step 4: Loosen up.

When you need a break, treat yourself to a remix interlude.  Like this one!

As epic as it may seem now, trust me: it's twelve times better at four in the morning when you need something to keep your head off your keyboard.

Step 5: Get fired up.

If you've fueled up, suited up, cranked up, loosened up, and stayed up until all hours studying for that final, you still might catch yourself dragging during the actual test.  This is normal.  You're in last-twenty-feet-slog-into-Mount-Doom-with-Frodo-on-your-shoulders territory.  This is tough stuff!

So visualize this:

Visualize an angry Gandalf bellowing at you in the middle of some forsaken mountain cave.  And then visualize knocking him into the bowels of the Earth.

I know, this probably sounds wicked... but he's kind of pretentious, really.  So just get him out of your way and get back to your exam.

And you KNOW he'll be just fine in the end, smiling at you when you meet him at the harbor to catch your boat to the Unhiring Lands (graduation).


Any finals survival tips I missed?  Good luck on your finals, if you have any!  And remember, ancuio silailye!

(that roughly means "Live long and prosper."  Yes, I'm aware it isn't from LOTR.  Don't mess with me, pal.  I just visualized smiting a certain wizard.)