Noses are nestled in textbooks, and faces remain hidden behind computer screens. Eyes grow weary from drastically skimming hundreds of pages of put-off reading that have accumulated over the past 12 weeks. Long time inhabitants residing in Davis Family Library have forgotten the frigid temperatures of rural Vermont and wear short sleeve shirts with their jeans and Bean Boots. Besides the softest sound of music protruding from a neighbor’s headphones in a nearby carrel, the soundtrack of the library merely consists of the squeaking of mechanical pencils frantically rewriting September’s lecture notes.
As the temperature decreases, laziness seems to increase. Some students retrieve their long-lost sweatpants from the depths of their drawers while others find themselves wearing the same navy blue Middlebury sweatshirt for time increments of up and over 24 hours. Some resort to writing in cursive to minimize time taken lifting their pencil after each and every letter. Creative and somewhat desperate fundraising groups realize they can sell Ramen Noodles and Butterfingers and even offer massage services on the first floor of the library to temporarily relieve students of their tensions and to earn some extra dough.
Competition for carrels soars to a new level. The overly-hopeful walk of freshmen through the stacks searching for a lone carrel without a notebook, jacket, or half-eaten Luna Bar becomes pointless considering the ambitious arrive as early as 10 AM to secure a carrel for the day week. If you manage to find a carrel: muchos kudos to you, and hold onto it–that study space is golden.
To delay writing that twelve-pager for an International Studies class or to put off memorization of an oral presentation for an acting class, some students fall into the fatal time vortexes of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They toggle from watching “Scarlett Takes a Tumble” for the umpteenth time to posting things such as “Occupy Davis Library: 1% of the semester controls 99% of the stress.” (Oh, so clever).
Exam week is unique in that it is the only week of the semester when it is socially acceptable (and in some cases even expected) to be a clinical psychopath. I even pulled out my pink glasses from the back of my over-stuffed desk drawer and wore them for about an hour. Given, this time brings moments of near defeat, like when you realize you have 101 political terms to memorize and only 100 note cards, or when that one professor schedules an exam for Saturday night from 7-10 PM when you had temporarily penciled in decorating Christmas cookies and singing Rudolph with your younger siblings at home. But then again, there are also a handful of perks to this week of craziness. There is (or at least there was…) a plate of fudge sitting outside the President’s office on the fourth floor of Old Chapel. (Walking up and down four flights of stairs to get the fudge works off two pieces, right?). A dining hall opens for Midnight Breakfast, which turns into the ultimate destination for communal commiseration. And if you’re lucky, a group of streakers may temporarily relieve you of your studying as you try to figure out if you are delirious or if there actually is a group of naked Ultimate players sprinting through the library. And most importantly, the thought of going home serves as excellent motivation to push through and crank out that last paper.
The first thing I did upon arriving in Charlotte after finishing my first semester at Middlebury was take a much-needed trip to Bojangles (obviously). Nothing tells me I’m home better than a southern Cajun Filet biscuit smothered in honey mustard accompanied by to-die-for seasoned fries. But, the first thing I made back in my parents’ kitchen was a batch of peanut butter cookies. (Note to self: make the world realize that I do, actually, eat healthy…). Personally, I’m a peanut butter addict and support anything and everything PB. So if you also find yourself dipping bananas, bread, chocolate, etc. in peanut butter or are just an enthusiast like myself, give these cookies a whirl. You won’t be disappointed.
Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies
Source: The Foster’s Market Cookbook
Yield: Makes about 1 ½ dozen 2 ½-3 inch cookies
Ingredients: 8 tbl (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, ½ cup creamy peanut butter, ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, ½ tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 ½ cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking soda, ¼ tsp salt, ½ cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts (optional), 2 tbl granulated sugar (for sprinkling on top)
- Preheat the oven to 375º.
- Lightly grease 2 baking sheets and set aside.
- Cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until well combined.
- Add the egg and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are combined.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl and stir to mix.
- Slowly add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture while beating or stirring until smooth and well blended. Do not over mix.
- Scoop the dough with a ¼ cup (2-ounce) ice cream scoop or a heaping tablespoon and drop onto the prepared baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Press flat with the back of a fork dipped in 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Each cookie should be about ¼ inch to ½ inch thick.
- Sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and the remaining granulated sugar.
- Bake 12-15 minutes (or 10-12 minutes for soft, chewy cookies), until golden brown. Cool 5 to 10 minutes on the baking sheets before removing the cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.
Variations: Add 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped, roasted peanuts to the batter for a chunkier cookie.
PS-My brother suggested I name this post “Finals Can Burn in Hell…Just Like My Cookies” because I may have burnt half of the batch…But you’ll be fine if you watch your cookies!