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I found this topic fitting considering the time of year it is. Finals week and the week leading up to it is, to say the least, detrimental to our health. We don’t eat, hydrate or sleep the way that we are supposed to because it’s the last thing on our minds to do. The end of the semester is always when things start to pile up. If you’re half as anxious about completing it all as I am, sleeping is the last thing that I’m capable of doing. One of my toxic traits is if I don’t have any of my work completed for the next day, I struggle sleeping that night knowing I have something due once I wake up.

However, I hit this semester running with several jobs and maxed out credits. I knew if I didn’t stay on a somewhat better schedule, I would stumble through every daily task that needed to be completed. I developed a better schedule and a better mentality for when I chose to go to sleep. I’ll also preface by saying this isn’t an easy task, and there are still many nights this semester where I haven’t stuck to this. However, I feel the effects of doing this more now than when I repeatedly went to bed at 1:00 in the morning. So, from one tired and overworked college student to the next, these are the things I tell myself to get to bed sooner and be able to fall asleep.

Maybe this is just my senioritis kicking in, but telling myself that the work will get done went a long way. Throughout my academic career, I managed to convince myself that if I didn’t put every ounce of my worries and anxieties into completing an assignment, they wouldn’t get done. Now, I look at it in a different light. During my academic career — regardless of how I was feeling — I have never missed an assignment. Gaining the extra two or three hours of sleep is better than staying up late and only getting half of the sleep you need so you can finish an assignment that you know, deep down, will get done.

Also, I found it necessary to tell myself how crucial it was to sleep. You always hear about how sleep improves your memory, health, attitude and much more. Something about actually seeing that happen in real life is a game changer. Whether it was my acne or the bags under my eyes, I saw an improvement in my skin. I felt the urge to do things more and was more motivated to do them well. My schoolwork improved because I was willing to discipline myself to go to bed by a certain time, wake up at a certain time, and get it done efficiently. The alternative was to stay up late and scramble to get it done before I fell asleep at my desk. You can imagine the difference in my work when I had a clear, rested mindset. I became more content with my day-to-day routines because I knew, in the long run, it would be more beneficial in every aspect of myself. 

My last point is a bit more sentimental. The biggest part of changing my sleeping schedule that helped was telling myself that I deserved it. I would remind myself that I was working hard and deserved an extra hour of sleep, regardless of how much I had to do the next day. It was a problem for tomorrow — not tonight. I deserve to get eight hours of sleep a night. I deserve to wake up and not dread how tired I’m going to be the rest of the day. I deserve to put my academic diligence aside to care about my body. I am worth that.

There’s something about telling yourself that that alters your perspective on everything. Again, forgive me if this is my senioritis rambling on, but knowing I was willing to sleep instead of staying up all night to complete an assignment that wasn’t due for two more days showed me that my health mattered above it all. At the end of the day, I’m still receiving my diploma in May, and my grades will no longer be something that clings to my identity. How I treat myself will always be a part of me. Right now, I have to consider that over everything. I’m going to rest and let tomorrow’s problems remain a worry for when I wake up.

Gabby Taylor

Virginia Tech '22

I am a senior at Virginia Tech pursuing a degree in Communication Science with minors in Psychology and Sociology. While writing is one of my greatest passions, I also enjoy spending time with my friends, my cat, and living in my daydreams :) enjoy my stories!
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