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The Dartmouth
May 19, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Discovering Treasures

Once upon a time, I used to get sleep. I used to go to bed before 4 a.m. every day. I used to stay awake and learn something in my morning classes. Better yet, I used to actually go to my morning classes. I didn't feel groggy all the time. I didn't have dark circles under my eyes. I didn't doze off in random places. Sounds like bliss, doesn't it? It certainly was. And yes, such a time did exist, I promise you, and is not just a figment of my overactive imagination.

Then I came to college.

No one sleeps in college. Or at least, it doesn't seem like they do. If they do, I have no idea how or when. Of course there is always the outlier, the exception, such as the guy across the hall from me (yes you, Adam), who goes to bed at 10 and wakes up at five because his most "productive" hours are in the morning. Weird, huh? But the rest of us don't seem to manage to get any sleep, which doesn't necessarily mean that we get any work done. I certainly don't. It's amazing to me how you can be up till the wee hours of the morning studying for a midterm and still not feel prepared for it at all. Must be some inexplicable law of nature or something.

Anyway, this lack of sleep is somewhat of a problem. I am not a morning person to begin with. Ask anyone who knows me well enough and they'll tell you that it's best to leave me alone for at least the first half hour after I've woken up. And that's on the days when I actually get some sleep. So imagine what might happen if you approach me when I got no sleep the previous night and (heaven forbid!) try to talk to me. It would not be pretty. I like people, really I do, and I would not be so rude unless I was heavily sleep-deprived. But, as I soon discovered, college inevitably caused me to be sleep-deprived most of the time. And that was a definite problem, especially if I wanted to foster some sort of human communication that didn't consist of gruff monosyllables. This problem plagued me for days. That is when I discovered The Nap.

The Nap is a beautiful thing. At first I thought it was just one of those myths that get perpetrated for no apparent reason, almost like an urban legend, only not so scary. But I am delighted to report that it is not, in fact, a myth. Napping is a tremendously useful art form, worthy of its own class. It's a survival skill, both effective and essential. I still haven't mastered this art. The perfect nap, apparently, has to be of a certain length, neither too long nor too short. It should leave you feeling refreshed and reenergized without making you groggy or disoriented. There have definitely been times when I meant to take a quick "power" nap, you know, rest my eyes for just 10 minutes, and ended up sleeping for much longer. That's not fun at all because you wake up feeling more tired than you were when you fell asleep, and you still have all that work left to do. So obviously this whole napping thing is not as easy as it seems. But I am told that with patience and enough practice, I, too, can become an effective napper.

The only problem with The Nap is that for a real nap, you need a nice comfortable bed. I live in the River. That is a slight problem. It means that when I have a break between classes, I have to walk all the way back to my dorm (in the middle of nowhere) to practice my napping skills. And that's obviously not time efficient at all. So I have one of two options. I can either make friends who are more conveniently located and use them for their ahem visit them often. Or I can just find a quiet, secluded spot somewhere in a library maybe (what else are libraries for?) and nap there. Either way I'll save myself a 20- minute hike home, and that, definitely, is key to my napping strategy. Did I mention I'm also lazy?

You know, they really weren't kidding when they said that you learn the most important things outside of class. I can barely believe that I went through 18 years of my life completely oblivious of something as wondrous and powerful as The Nap. But I don't think I'm alone in my ignorance. I'm sure there are many people who still believe they can get ample sleep (poor saps) and aren't aware of the power of a good nap. Such ignorance must be eliminated at all costs. I propose we start teaching proper napping techniques as early as elementary school. Train 'em early, train 'em well. Then by the time they get to college, they will already have perfected a skill I'm still struggling to acquire. And soon we'll have a campus that never sleeps, but only naps. Intriguing, huh? I think so too. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a nap.