After all, I am only sleeping

Emmett Fitzpatrick

There are a myriad of reasons why I am going to miss college life after I graduate in May – being with friends all the time, not answering to a boss, etc. However, there is one reason that stands above all these: sleeping late every day.

Athletes and overachievers notwithstanding, most college kids would probably agree that we should avoid morning classes at all costs. By scheduling classes late in the day, we effectively block the early morning out of our lives so we don’t have to deal with hangovers or simply a lack of sleep.

Fast forwarding to the “real world” that I hear so much about in horror stories in movies or on television, the average person is forced to get up near dawn five days a week and not come home from work until dusk. In that schedule, where does my usual late afternoon nap between classes fit in? The answer, unfortunately, is that there is no room for quick naps throughout the day to get recharged for the night.

I did get a glimpse of the “daily grind,” as it is known, during my internship last summer. Knowing that I had to catch a 7:23 a.m. train every morning did not exactly have me jumping out of bed ready to attack the world. In fact, the only thing that got me up in the morning was the promise of sleeping on the hour-long train ride into the city.

My internship also taught me the value of caffeine. Without it, I don’t think I could have stayed awake for the duration of the eight-hour workday. I learned why I see people clutching a cup of coffee every morning, and it’s not simply to look cool or smart in front of Holy Grounds, like some Villanovans do. Members of the workforce use all their lattes and café mochas as necessary tools to stay awake throughout the day.

One day last summer I remember answering the phones at my office and thinking that if I put my head down on my desk, I would be fast asleep in less than five seconds. With that in mind, I went to a vending machine and picked up a Mountain Dew. The caffeine prevented my boss from having to wake me up at the desk, but I can’t count on coffee and soda to get me through every day, can I?

One of my personal heroes is Mark Zuckerberg, and not for the reasons that most college kids consider him a hero. After all, he’s the creator of Facebook; students all across the world have him to thank for that wonderfully terrible invention. The reason I respect him so much, however, is the importance he places on getting a good night’s sleep.

When Microsoft wanted to buy Facebook, its executives tried to set up a meeting with Zuckerberg. The only problem was that the two sides had trouble finding the right time for the meeting. After all, Facebook executives told Microsoft that they couldn’t do an 8 a.m. conference call since its CEO wouldn’t be awake. In an interview, Zuckerberg was quoted as saying, “I’m in the office at 10:30 a.m. sometimes.”

Stories like Zuckerberg’s give me hope that some people can avoid the early morning grind. These are exceptions to the rule, though, and I can’t assume that I’ll be starting a billion-dollar company and retiring in five years.

For people like me, unemployment and graduate school are the only other options to avoid the early morning world of the workforce. Since neither of those options are very appealing right now, it looks as if I will be forced to get coffee every morning and Coca-Colas every afternoon. I’ll be awakened at an ungodly hour five days a week.

And that’s a scary thought. I’ve tried to be a “morning person,” whatever that means, but I’ve never been able to become one. I consider myself a happy person almost all the time, with one major exception: the 20 minutes or so immediately following waking up. At that point in the day, you don’t want to know the thoughts that go through my head as I struggle to leave the comfortable world of sleep.

In “Ocean’s Eleven,” Brad Pitt’s character is asked if he is suicidal. “Only in the morning,” he responds, and I can see where he’s coming from. I’ve never had any thoughts of suicide, but if I ever did, chances are they would probably creep into my head at this time of day.

I could write for days on the value of sleep, how your coolest dreams always take place when you go back to sleep after initially waking up or how important John Lennon considered a good night’s sleep. Instead, I think I’ll take a nap.


Emmett Fitzpatrick is a senior english major from Lake Forest, Ill. He can be reached at [email protected]