News that Excites a Duke Student

“Please fill in the blanks with the correct conjugated word and ‘YEAH TAKE THAT!’ indicate if  ‘NOOO I ALMOST HAD IT’ the statement is true or false.”

Sitting in the Randolph common room trying to study French was more challenging than I had anticipated. Desperate to escape the piercing screams of an intense ping pong rally or the sound of a ball successfully sunk during a game of pool, I inquired about the hours for Lilly Library. Unfortunately, at the time, Lilly was only open until 12 a.m.;  my only option was to endure the loud common room or sit in my shoebox of a room.


A few days later I received some very exciting news. In the midst of flash flood warnings, tornado scares, and endless Duke Alerts, one would think that this exciting news would be the cancellation of classes. Though relieving, that isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the notice posted at the entrance of Lilly Library informing students that they now have extended hours Sunday through Thursday until 4 a.m.. How ironic is it that what excites a college student the most is the ability to stay up until 4 a.m. STUDYING?

In high school, I invariably went to sleep before midnight. With all my work done, food in my belly, and clothes picked out for the next day, I felt on top of the world before going to bed. Now, I rarely get enough sleep to change out of my pajamas for my 8:45 class. So how does moving from New Jersey to North Carolina and going from high school to college alter my entire sleep schedule and perspective on how I should prioritize my health and my grades? It seems that I am not the only one in this predicament. I am accompanied by the 57% of surveyed Duke freshmen who indicated that they get 6 hours or less of sleep on a school night. According to the Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep for young adults ages 18-25 is between 7-9 hours of sleep.

The excitement of my fellow classmates over the extended hours at Lilly and the opportunity to study until 4 a.m. causes me to consider the idea of effortless perfection— a term often tossed around campus. Of the 3 S’s: Sleep, Studies, and Socialization, something's got to give. More often than not, it’s sleep. The majority of Duke students get about 4-6 hours of sleep on a school night. I aspire to one day join the 12 people who were able to confidently and restfully say that they get 8+ hours of sleep.


via: 123rf.

The notion that every Duke student has their whole life together is perpetuated by the toxic culture that demands students to be exceptional at everything. On top of it, the concept of effortless perfection hinges on the notion that Duke students are perfect without trying. No one is perfect, and the person who seems “perfect” is the same person who is excited about Lilly being open until 4 a.m.. It seems as though the “perfection” that everyone is striving for comes with a pretty hefty price tag: sleep.

Challenging the expectation that all Duke students are effortlessly perfect is the first step to creating a less stressed community. A community that doesn't frown upon failure, but welcomes and learns from it. A community that supports each other in a time of need. A healthy community is a happy community. Hopefully Duke students start to accept that nobody is perfect, and find themselves more often in bed at 4 in the morning than in the Library.