Each time finals week approaches and the semester ends with an explosion of stress, I find myself truly amazed at just how little sleep on which college students are able to function. I recently overheard someone explaining that she had plans to pull an all-nighter to finish one essay, go to class, eat food, attempt to sleep from 4:00 p.m. to midnight, and then pull another all-nighter to tackle essay number two. That, my friends, is what I call impressive, especially when I compare it to the reasons why I usually find myself chronically sleep deprived—reasons which are usually, sadly, far less academically successful.
I start out with the grand plan of studying for a solid three hours and then going to bed at a decent time, but of course that rarely ever happens. Instead, I usually find myself getting distracted about three-quarters of the way through and then deciding that it’s time to take a break. A few minutes later and suddenly I’ve wasted an entire hour. Wait, what? I swear that all I did was check my email, scroll through Instagram, and open up a few ridiculous Snapchats.
With newly strengthened resolve and determination, I block myself from all social media sites, turn off my phone, and put in my headphones in the hopes of drowning out the rest of the world and making sure that I am solely focused on organic chemistry. This works for approximately twenty minutes before the iPod’s “shuffle” feature betrays me. I then proceed to jam out to music that I didn’t even realize was still present in my iTunes library, considering that the last time that I listened to it must have been back in the day when Razr phones were all the rage. The nostalgia is too powerful and I am helpless against it, and before I know it, I’ve gone all the way back to “he was a skater boy she said see you later boy,” and that’s when I realize that I should probably stop fighting it and just accept defeat.
Rocking out to Avril temporarily cures my feelings of school-related angst, preparing me to give up entirely and fire up Netflix—that is, until I see Breaking Bad and am reminded once again of chemistry. The guilt proceeds to rear its ugly but oh-so-necessary head, and this time I actually manage to finish my allotted self-imposed study time. This would all be well and good, except for the fact that it is inexplicably now practically 3:00 a.m. and any knowledge that I might have gleaned from this experience is probably going to be canceled out by my extreme exhaustion the next day. And thus the cycle continues.
But at least we can all share in the solidarity of sleep deprivation. Our mutual pain brings us together (except for that one kid who is a diligent studier and goes to bed at 11:00 p.m. every night, but he should probably just not divulge that information to anyone if he wants to maintain any friendships). I also enjoy the fact that it seems as though college students have a knack for being able to fall asleep anywhere and everywhere, seemingly without any regards for comfort or privacy. Locations include on the floor of the MPR surrounded by an array of notebooks and papers and pencils, with drool forming a nice little pool at a desk in the library; at the Deece with plate of pasta that just seems to be beckoning you to close your tired eyes and lay your weary head down in its warm comfortable bed of carbohydrate-y goodness. I promise I won’t judge.