mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I'm tired, coach, so tired...

Over at The Corner, John Derbyshire is trying to figure out why college students like to go to bed late. One of his readers feels it's because some people are jerks and won't shut the hell up.

As someone who was a college student not that long ago, I'm going to add my opinion.

First of all, I feel that for many people, waking up late and going to sleep is what comes naturally. It's not uncommon for people to sleep late on days off. When I was "between jobs", I adopted that sort of sleep schedule - getting up around 11, going to sleep around 2 or 3. I think sleeping late is hardwired into the body chemistry of many people.

For about a year and a half, I was the "night guy" at the call center/ technology helpdesk where I work. My shift most days was 1pm to 10pm. I loved it. I could get up at 10am, drink coffee and surf the net for an hour or two, and then go to work. I switched to days about 4 months ago because I wanted to start taking night MBA classes, and now I feel tired all the time. I don't think my body has gotten used to it even after 4 months. The time I feel most awake seems to be right when I need to go to bed.

The noise factor that Derbyshire's writer mentions is a factor - it's hard to sleep when your roomate is blasting music or hurling Playstation controlers at the TV. But part of it is also freedom - for the first time in your life as a college student, you have freedom. No school bus to catch at 7:30, no boss at your summer job wanting you there at 8am. Sure, sometimes you get stuck with an early morning class, but after a semestr or 2 of that you start picking classes based on not having any. At my alma matter, lots of business classes are offered at night - 6:30-7:45 twice a week or 6:30-9 once a week - which means not only do you not have to get up early, but also that you have to stay up late.

This loose schedule gives rise to another college phenomena - the nap. College is one of the few places between childhood and retirement where, if you are tired at 2pm, you can take a nap - and many college students do.

Personally, I tended to do the stay-up-late thing a lot more my freshman year than I did as time went on. Part of this was maturity, part of this was a change of roomates, and part of this was additional responsibilities - by senior year, I had a part time job and lived in an off-campus apartment 15 minutes away from campus - so I could no longer stumble out of bed at 8:50 for a 9am class.


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