Making questionable choices is a collegiate rite of passage: an initiation, if you will, into a life filled with face-palms and liver damage. From starting research papers hours before they’re due to attending class hung-over with sunglasses on—college students are known to make really dumb choices. What are some of mine, you ask? Well, drinking coffee at 9 PM when you don’t have a paper or exam due the following day. This may sound like a harmless decision in comparison to, lets say, running around naked like Will Ferrell in Old School, right? Think again.
After dozing off for 2 hours in my Astronomy class, I thought it would be a good idea to indulge in a medium White Mocha. My exhaustion tricked me into believing that it was smart to drink espresso when the effects won’t wear off until 6 hours after its consumption. As in, around the time I’m supposed to experience R.E.M and dream about Ryan Gosling.
And now, after I successfully finished my homework in-between distractions from Tumblr, I can‘t help but think “now what?”—there are only so many chemistry cat memes you can laugh at. When caffeine has done its job, all you want to do is sleep. Like Ron Burgundy from Anchorman, you immediately regret this decision (apparently Will Ferrell’s characters make a lot of dumb choices). It seems that regret is as much of a college staple as Christmas lights in dorm rooms. Did I mention it’s almost 4 AM?
What I’m trying to get at is the root of this seemingly universal dilemma amongst college students, where we sacrifice days of sleep in hopes of a flawless 10-page analysis of Huckleberry Finn. Don’t get me wrong: I realize sleepless nights come with the territory of acquiring a degree. But aren’t we supposed to become dependent on caffeine when we have a full-time job, family, and mortgage to pay for? I don’t even have anything “significant” due tomorrow, and I still drank coffee because of how accustomed I am to relying on it for energy.
I feel disheartened when I interact with students that resent their college education—either because of the consecutive all-nighters or endless assignments that suck the fun out of learning. My Twitter timeline is constantly flooded with laments such as “It‘s gonna be a long night. #thecollegelife.” Then again, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t felt the same way each morning when I press the snooze button (in 5-minute intervals for an hour).
Which brings me to another dumb decision I tend to make as a college student: taking things for granted. I forget that I have the opportunity to attend college—an opportunity my mother was denied. When I grunt and sigh about how much work I have to do over the weekend, she never fails to remind me of how lucky I am. All of a sudden, a handful of sleepless nights don’t seem like such a bad alternative.
So when I sip my pumpkin spice latte’s during finals week (averaging 4 hours of sleep per night) I’ll try to ignore the fact that caffeine is my main source of nourishment and be grateful that I have the option to take an exam—even if I look like an extra in Dawn of the Dead.
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