Wired and Weary
France Griggs Sloat
Sara Rowell blames no one but herself. Her parents tell her not to push herself so hard. But something inside keeps driving her. As a freshman, she routinely studied until 4:00 a.m. or 5:00 a.m., slept a few hours, went to class, stayed busy into the evenings, then hit the books again. By the end of her freshman year, she was fried.
"My goal was a 4.0 grade point average," she says, "but that was too hard. I had trouble ordering my time. My schedule was so out of whack that I was up all the time. I'd start homework around 7:30 p.m. and just do homework all night. I knew I wasn't getting enough sleep. I'm a pretty clear-cut case of overachiever. It's totally my fault."
Rowell is a triple major—math, political science and the Philosophy, Politics and the Public honors program—which makes her a bit unusual among students. But she's not alone in other respects. In fact, her story is quite common. Many students in college today suffer physically, mentally and academically as a result of a drive to succeed, a need for social stimulation and a 24-hour-a-day schedule that has no beginning or end. To accomplish it all, they're staying up late—really late—and robbing themselves of the sleep their bodies crave.
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