Student Blog: Tick Tick Boom...

“Sleep is for the weak” sounds like such an arrogant phrase. A phrase people only use as a joke. A phrase that is secretly used as reasoning in my mind.

Student Blog: Tick Tick Boom...

About a year ago, when I was in high school, one day in the homeroom my male friends and I got onto the topic of sleep. Most of these boys were known to have terrible sleep schedules, spending most nights gaming till as late as 3 and even 4 am, only to wake up for school at 6:30 am. "How and why do you do that?" I'd asked. This launched a thorough explanation and the detailing of their methodically mad sleep schedule. After school got out at 3:10, the boys would go home and sleep till dinner, clocking in about three or four hours of sleep. After dinner, they'd start their evenings by completing homework for tomorrow's classes, studying for exams, diving into YouTube rabbit holes, and hopping online to game. They then explained their reasoning that sleep is sleep, that no matter when or where you complete it, the hours add up. For example, if they got a four-hour nap after school and decided to go to bed at 3 am, they'd reason that they got seven hours of sleep that night. I thought this method was ridiculous, but little did I know I'd use it a year later.

In college, one may have only one class a day and that class may be in the early hours of the morning or it may be after working hours. I've found that managing my sleep has become very similar to the managing tactics of the boys from my high school. Some Mondays I'll wake up early- 4 or 5 am early- for a film shoot with my internship, nap for an hour once I get home, and stay up past midnight to cram for an upcoming exam. Sure I'm dead tired the next day, but I reason that I'll be able to sleep in on Wednesday- the day I only have one class, one class that isn't until 6 pm.

I find that I've been counting my hours, not by night though, but by days. "I'll catch up on the weekend," I'll tell myself, only to do it all again the next week and be exhausted again.

When I tell my mom about my sleep schedule, she of course worries, but always concludes with "you're young." But that's the thing, youth doesn't justify bad habits, it aids in creating them. I think a part of why I have trouble putting myself to bed is because I am young. I remember writing in my journal about how this year, in 2023, I will be turning 20. I wrote about how this was not only a milestone of being alive for two decades, but it is also the start of a clock, a countdown. That I have only ten years to do something great and include the adjective 'young' in my title. Only ten years to make Forbes' "30 Under 30" list.

"Sleep is for the weak" sounds like such an arrogant phrase. A phrase people only use as a joke. A phrase that is secretly used as reasoning in my mind. Reasoning why I need to stay up, why I need to keep going, why I need to work harder no matter how much weight my eyelids seem to bear.

I think a lot of young artists struggle with this internal clock, this need to make something great and to make it now.

This idea of 'instant art' is a product of the world of social media- the ability to see all the great things other people are doing and have done, creating the critique "why didn't I do that?"

It is a product of artistic ambition- to earn that title from others that you are an artist.

It is a product of our parents' worry- as an aspiring creative it is more common to hear the assertion that "art makes no money" than to hear a simple "great job."

We feel the pressure and create more of it. Sometimes we create more pressure to put on ourselves than we do art.

Fear or love? Make sure the answer is love and remember to take breaks. Do the essentials. Complete the to-do list on that cheesy t-shirt your grandparents bought for you after you got into art school:

"Eat. Sleep. Create." There's a reason why those t-shirts don't say "Create. Create. Create."

So remember the first two steps on the t-shirt and count your hours of sleep, but make sure the total doesn't only satisfy the amount recommended by the CDC, but that it satisfies you and your body.



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From This Author - Student Blogger: Aubrey Donovan

Aubrey Meiling is a Chinese adoptee from the sunshine state of Florida. She grew up surrounded by the arts. Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, Aubrey has participated in the dramatic arts... (read more about this author)

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