Brains in a Bottle

The waiting is the hardest part. Apparently, ECFMG sends out scores on Wednesdays, and, as it has only been two Wednesdays since that gargantuan exam, I guess they haven’t gotten around to scoring mine yet. On one hand, I’m extremely eager to receive my results so I can set the balls in motion for scheduling my cores, especially since surgery cores are few and far between. Once my schedule is finally set, I can have some sort of idea of what the next 48 weeks are going to look like for me. On the other hand, even though my feeling after the exam wasn’t one of dread, I have these little panicked moments during which the terrible thought of failure seeps in and saturates my mind. What if I failed? What if my passing score is so pitiful that it’s almost as if I failed anyway? It’s tough to banish those thoughts sometimes. However, for now, I will enjoy the relative freedom of being in limbo and try to patiently wait for that email to come.

In the meantime, I figured I’d post a little review of all the energy drinks I consumed while in hardcore study isolation. I’m not really a big fan of caffeine (too much of it makes me ill) but desperate times call for desperate measures. Back on the island when exam time rolled around, I’d stock up on Rumba, my energy drink of choice. Although I was unable to find Rumba stateside, I discovered a whole new realm of beverages promising to keep me alert, clear my mind, enhance my focus and all manner of impressive-sounding claims. Whether any of them actually delivered on those promises, well…

First, the worst: 5 Hour Energy

Hands down, the absolute worst of the ones I tried. Maybe 5 Hour Energy turns everyone else into bright-eyed, productive, focused superheroes but to me, it’s kryptonite in liquid form. I’ve tried it twice before, once with the exact opposite result of what the commercials claim (an almost instant crash), so don’t know why I thought this time it would work but I gave it another try and was disappointed yet again. No more of this stuff for me. 0/10

True Colors and Xyience Energy drinks were better than the aforementioned catastrophe drink but they didn’t really deliver in the taste or energy categories. True Colors was like a cross between cola and Red Bull and wasn’t really my cup of tea. Xyience (which is apparently the official energy drink of Ultimate Fighting) got extra points for taste (they offer an interesting selection of fruity flavors) but I think I fell asleep right after I drank it. 5/10 and 6/10, respectively.

Target’s Archer Farms brand of energy drinks is actually not bad. The flavors are pretty good and they do deliver a little burst of energy/focus, especially helpful for beating that early afternoon drowsiness. I usually drank one of these with lunch and was able to maintain productivity until dinnertime. 7/10

Neuro Sonic is the drink I wanted to like the most. Cool color, cool bottle, claims that I desperately wanted to believe, this drink was the one I actually brought with me to D-day. Unfortunately, I only took about three sips of it, during my little lunch break between blocks 4 and 5. I did finish my exam early, so maybe it did help me focus after all. 7/10

Jones GABA Drinks take a different approach to the energy game. Apparently, GABA supplements are added to this fruit-flavored tea drink with the purpose of calming mental activity and fostering a zen-like clarity that will actually help one focus and retain information better. I’m not sure if it did all that but it tasted great and was non-carbonated (bonus points!). 8/10

A special honorable mention goes to Arizona’s Caution Energy drink. It was the cheapest at 99 cents and although I didn’t experience any extraordinary boost in energy from it, it looks so hardcore that a guy in the store was like, “What is that?!” when he saw me waiting in line with it and, after I explained, he then proceeded to buy one himself!

I hope these drink reviews are helpful to my fellow students and dear readers. If you guys know of any energy drinks that deliver on their claims (especially non-carbonated ones), please recommend!

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