I am dead inside. And so are many people on this campus.
We have sleep deprivation, a very serious condition in which we have so much to do and no time to do it so that our body doesn’t reach a resting state. Sadly, there is no cure. Well there is a cure, but it's highly unrealistic and inconvenient. We are silent sufferers who slam back a few energy drinks and then fall asleep during our afternoon classes.
With the combined pressures of trying to do well in our classes, working side jobs and having some semblance of a social life, all college students are strapped for time and the only solution is to cut down on sleep. There aren’t even enough hours in the day to eat so we try to #thrive on a diet of caffeine and the rare light meal of a few fistfuls of cereal while we sob into our laptops at 2:30 a.m.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Sleep disorders are so pervasive in the United States that they now constitute a public health epidemic."
The signs of sleep deprivation in the average Gonzaga student might differ, but are fairly easy to spot.
The easiest one is when the person next to you keeps bobbing their head as if the professor is dropping some fire beats. If someone is drinking a Bang or cold brew at 7 a.m., that person has not felt the sweet embrace of an eight hour sleep in a very long time. When asked “how are you?” and the response is a narrowing of the eyes, a long sigh coupled with “I’m here aren’t I”— that person has contemplated dropping their STEM degree to live by themselves in the woods at least once every hour.
On GU's campus, there is this fun social pressure that we must take every opportunity and every job that comes our way. That you must say yes to everything, even if you don’t completely love doing it. There are even a few people on this campus who view the 18-credit maximum as a challenge.
There might not be a lot of we can do to force the school to lighten up the amount of work we are assigned in classes, but we can change the school’s culture by saying no. Say no to doing as many things as you can.
When you are an underclassman, you truly think that you have to join everything and go to every single event because you want to be involved and don’t want to miss out on anything. This attitude matures and when you become an upperclassman makes you almost die from exhaustion.
Those who try to perpetuate this attitude need to be stopped and no, you shouldn’t listen to that one person who thinks you can handle a fourth on-campus job while also balancing a 19-credit course load. Just because you can do something does not mean you should because at the end of the day, who are you trying to impress? Having that wild, stressed out, look in your eyes is never a cute look.
The biggest piece of advice an upperclassman could give an underclassman is to learn to enjoy the simple pleasure of arriving at a party, saying hi to everyone there and then quietly disappearing into the night. The great thing about this is it gives this cool, mysterious element to you. Are you still there? Did you go to a better party? That is one secret you never have to tell. This allows you feel that fun party vibe but when it is time for the train wreck ending of people fighting and a couch being thrown out of a window, you are already in bed with McDonald's.
We can hope that professors take pity on us and our groutfits, but real change starts with us choosing to take in a tight 20-minute power nap instead of another meeting.
Before you start each day take what Coco Chanel said completely out of context “Look in the mirror and take one thing off,” because the hottest schedules are the ones that are incredibly minimalistic.