Sleep Is Important.

Since August, I was working at a hospital and spending upwards of 24 NIGHT hours at work per week while also going to school and balancing two more jobs, some extracurricular clubs, and social activities. I slept in the crevices of my schedule, and for a while, it all seemed completely manageable.

Who needs continuous sleep? I thought. I did, as it turns out. After that initial month where I felt like superwoman and consequently also never sat down, the reality of my grueling schedule started to compound. Each hour of sleep that was lost was felt, felt in my perpetual sleepiness, felt in my sore feet, felt in my less than ideal grades. I didn’t really feel like I was engaged in the moment, and as a result, the quality of my contributions to my courses suffered, I believe. I wasn’t participating like I wanted to. I didn’t raise my hand or follow the lectures.

Me in class most days:

And the capstone project seemed to be at a standstill. It seemed so daunting, so insurmountable. I didn’t really know what I wanted the project to be, and I wasn’t sure if I could make it happen regardless. I resisted starting, planning, writing, reaching out to mentors – all because I wasn’t feeling engaged with it.

Then I quit my job. Only the 24 night hours/week one. And it made all the difference: after getting eight continuous (here this word means that the 8 hours were back to back instead of split up into chunks of 2 or 3 because those were the only intervals I had to catch up on rest for the past two months) hours of sleep, I felt like a new woman. Multiple people commented on the transformation (I had answered my EEB teacher’s questions a few times in lecture that day), even strangers. It was crazy, who knew sleep mattered? Just kidding, of course it does. But I underestimated just how much.

I remember pieces I’ve written while sleep-deprived in the past, notably a set of notes for class I’d read while falling asleep. It was nearly illegible. It’s kind of shocking how little we can function when we are not rested.

My perspective on the project has also done a 180. I feel more ready and confident about making it happen, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

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