Players unplug from games, hook up with books for finals

Instant messaging can help quiz classmates or get quick answers.

Aidan M. Anderson

Elite counter-terrorism operators will be taking a two-week vacation starting Thursday.

They’ll join level 60 orc warlocks, Master Chiefs, Rangers of Easy Company and maybe even a handful of low-level “newbs” as video gamers try to focus on the task at hand: conquering finals.

University junior Cameron Sorden is a member of a community of students who meet online regularly to play “World of Warcraft.” He said he anticipates not having as much time to play as he did earlier in the semester.

“With finals coming up, I don’t get to play as much as I’d like because there’s 50 things going on,” he said. “Most people treat it like any other hobby… it can always bleed into study time.”

Time management is the key to success, he said.

“If you know you’re the kind of person to get caught up for hours you might have to block out playing time,” he said.

While he denies an addiction to gaming, chemical engineering junior Mark Olstad plans on uninstalling the games from his computer entirely.

“Otherwise, I get distracted easily,” he said. “I’m not even going to worry about them.”

Distraction is not limited to those under the influence of entertainment.

“The best way is to put yourself well out of temptation’s way,” said Rosemarie Parks, an associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development. “It’s finding a place where you’re not distracted and where you’re not going to get up and walk to the refrigerator or answer the phone or get back on the computer.”

Studying isn’t just for Luddites though. Instant messaging can be helpful in quizzing classmates or getting quick answers, Parks said.

The name of the finals game should be familiar to even the most hopeless “Halo 2” addict: strategy.

Park recommends finding a quiet place and seeking out the most important information, much of which can be found on previous tests, reviews and summaries.

Simply rereading materials many times doesn’t work and students should take tailored notes to retain information, she said.

“I’ve always been a fan of the 3-by-5 card,” Parks said.

Like Olstad, first-year economics student Spencer Burke also uninstalled his favorite games, copies of “Counterstrike” and “Unreal Tournament,” to better focus on finals week.

Burke waited in line at the Coon Rapids Best Buy and was one of the lucky few to get his hands on an Xbox 360.

He sent the machine into exile.

“That’s at home, otherwise that’d be another issue,” he said.