Monday, August 31, 2009

How do I stay awake during class?

Dear Mom:

How do I stay awake during class?



Dear Sleepy:

I remember hearing a story not so long ago of a guy who fell asleep in class. He didn't wake up until the class was dismissed. Only after he'd gone to the restroom, did he notice the terrible secret-he had a lovely saying written on his face.
If this is you, I apologize for letting your secret out to those who didn't see you walking down the hall. In either case, it's really not a good idea to fall asleep in class even if you're afraid of seeing the words, "I am a cute guy," written across your left cheek (face that is).

As for me, this would be as good a reason as any to stay awake-except for this.
You may just learn something. If you haven't had enough sleep the night before, or have struggled to stay awake because the professor is well, boring, or the subject doesn't interest you quite near as much as "you know who" from across the room, or you would just rather be someplace else, listen up.

I tried this trick not too long ago.

I was in one of my classes. We meet at the un-heard-of hour of 8 a.m. (the hour I had signed up for, mind you) and I was just scrambling for a little shut eye when I realized I had begun to zone out. My body was in the chair, but my stomach, well; it was wondering what to eat for breakfast. The night before, I was up too late and the following morning I'd slept in as long as possible, not giving myself time for that most important meal of the day.

To make a long story short, I could have been that dead guy in "Weekend at Bernies," being carried around all day long. I was that dead tired. It was hard for me to focus, and participating, well, let's just say I was sitting quietly in my chair.
I have learned some things since then, and re-learned a few others.

First, always get a good night sleep. I know, I know, you have homework. You have a life outside of college. But you also have a life inside college. Seven to eight hours of sleep a night is essential for not only good health, but for mental and emotional functioning, and personal safety as well. Not surprisingly, only about 11 percent of students get it.

Second, eat a good breakfast. Simple enough, but harder to do when you are running out the door.

Third, study the material. Sure, your teacher may not ask you any questions on the text, but by looking over the material, you will be better prepared to contribute to class discussions and ask those questions if she does. By being prepared, you are not only better able to understand the material presented, but to be an active participant, and less likely to close your eyes.

Fourth, get some exercise. Walk the stairs to class instead of taking the elevator. Take the bus instead of driving your car. Take a morning walk before school. Most experts suggest at least 30 minutes of exercise a day will help you feel less sleepy.
Last, stress does wonders to your body. It can make you feel as dead and listless as a drowned cat. I know it and feel it every day I forget to take some time to smell the roses. Take some time.


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