How the ‘Stop’ App Has Made Me a Better Student

“Stop” Has Prepared Me More for My Classes than My Classes

Maybe I can “Stop” going to school?

By Elizabeth Rourk, University of New Haven


I knew I shouldn’t have downloaded a trivia game the week before midterms, because let’s face it—beating my friends at meaningless phone game is more important than the Connecticut General Statutes Annotated (sorry, mom and dad).

But regardless of what I knew I should do, the moment I saw one of my friends frantically yelling about weird categories starting with a certain letter, I was in the app store downloading ‘Stop.’

Even though sitting on my bed challenging my Facebook friends to games the day before my research project was due was not my best idea time-management wise, not all was lost.

Since downloading Stop, I find myself paying more attention in class, desperately searching to learn new words that will fit into categories. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep, the excessive levels of caffeine currently present in my body or the general information overload midterms brings about, but I’ve picked up a few useful academic skills because of Stop.

“WHAT IS AN AIRLINE THAT STARTS WITH Z?” has become as common of a greeting as hi in my dorm room (Zambia Skyways). Just make sure you know not to ask for help if your opponent is in the room, or else they might realize what the letter is and be more prepared than you going into the round.

Before I continue I would like to say that I promise that my friends and I really do love each other. We are just also a competitive bunch. And really, what better way to show love to a competitive person than to challenge them to a competition?

How the ‘Stop’ App Has Made Me a Better Student

There has been more than one occasion where my roommate and I go back and forth, one of us with a laptop in hand and the other one with their Stop game, typing as quickly as possible to help each other fill out all the categories in games against our opponents. The real fun comes after though, when we knowingly stop the clock on each other after just seconds so that the other doesn’t have time to look anything up.

The mini-adrenaline rush that comes with trying to fill out all the categories before the Stop hand pops up on the screen is more fun (and albeit less stressful) than finishing your midterm before time is up, and the contempt that comes along with the buzzer going off midway through typing a word only feeds the drive to go quicker than your opponent. While more enjoyable than taking a midterm, playing Stop has given me good practice in rushing to finish a few final questions before the professor pulls the exam out from under your pencil.

Getting good grades back on the top of my exams is fulfilling after all the stress that goes into studying, but the immediate gratification of filling out all five categories in twelve seconds, getting a gold star for rare words and being crowned the winner of the round also brings a rush of satisfaction to my competitive drive.

Yesterday when I took my American Government & Politics midterm, I quickly answered all of the “Who was who in the revolution?” questions correctly (I studied up on those for the historical figures category), and was careful to make note of any other terms that could come in useful in future categories.

While winning a game probably shouldn’t be my primary motivation for learning, at least it means I’m spending time studying, right?

Authors and historical figures I’m usually pretty good with, being that they’ve been drilled into my head since I was five years old and walked into my kindergarten classroom. After finding out my two lowest-ranked categories are ‘Oscar-nominated Directors’ and ‘Famous Movie Franchises,’ I have found myself considering a film class next semester.

And while directors and franchises may not be my personal forte, nothing pushes the creative juices quite like getting the letter Q. Helpful hint—putting Queen for every category will usually get you half a point in at least one of the categories.

Another skill I’ve picked up is how to make things into compound words so that they start with a certain letter (red onions, fast car, etc.), and that last names do in fact count in place of a full name for a historical figure (and ‘Grant’ takes less time to type than, say, ‘George Washington’).

Maybe a game that thinks you can take Oregon on an airplane and that zebras are rarer than a zebra is not the most reliable educational source, but it has taught me that there is a language starting with every letter of the alphabet and that any South American country usually has a big soccer club.

So before anyone goes to disregard phone games, take a step back and look at the only procrastination method I have ever encountered that actually teaches in the process.

Maybe Stop isn’t the most thought-inducing game, but it definitely has its teaching moments. If nothing else, when I can’t think of a word for the ‘School Subjects’ category, I know it’s probably time to get back to studying. And, in case anyone was curious, I didn’t fail a single one of my midterms.

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