The painful sound of tractors rumbling in the dirt and the clanking of metal hurt my head as if I had a hangover. Except, the only hangover I had Monday morning was from hours of studying and the massive amount of caffeine I consumed earlier that morning to keep myself awake. Yes, earlier that morning. That is because my day didn’t start. Instead, it was simply a continuation of the previous day, something like rollover minutes.
Much like a cell-phone plan, my rollover minutes began at midnight to start the month of December, literally watching the minutes and hours rollover as I knew I wasn’t getting any sleep, yet had tons of things that remained on my to-do list.
I’m sure students can relate to the experience of pulling an “all-nighter.” Staying up for late-night study sessions just seems necessary during the last two weeks of the semester. It seems like the challenge, or tease, comes with final exams to see if we can survive the last two weeks as we anticipate a much-needed vacation.
Now and then, staying up for more than 24 hours to get things done is necessary because we run out of time.
As of now, I am on 35 hours without sleep and by the time this column goes to print it will be almost 40 hours. But to achieve this takes an ample amount of caffeine. (Don’t try this at home.) Let’s just say having consumed two cups of black coffee the size of soup mugs may have been a bit much at 1 a.m.
I felt the coffee kick in immediately, the first sign being that I felt my hands and arms shaking uncontrollably. Then, as if I was a child with attention deficit disorder sitting through a history lecture, I became fidgety.
When I finally began to focus, I locked in on studying and my homework, but looking back at what I wrote, it appears more like some of the first writings that were found on clay tablets. If you’ve ever stayed awake for more than 24 hours, as I’m sure most college students have, there’s nothing like setting your alarm clock at 3:30 a.m. for a one-hour nap.
Paranoid that I would oversleep and miss my exam (as I did once), I set two alarm clocks to be sure that I would hear at least one.
Instead, I woke up to the sound of both alarm clocks ringing in unison with a piercing sound that only the Sirens from The Odyssey could make, a sound that could only be blocked by putting wax in one’s ears. I’m sure some fellow colleagues would agree that there’s no worse sound early in the morning (with the exception of a weed whacker), especially when it feels like you’ve been asleep for a mere five minutes.
After having another soup bowl of coffee, I was good for another study session. But becoming restless, again, I took advantage of the rare opportunity of being awake and functional at 7 a.m. to go for a morning jog.
Taking none other than the scenic route past the construction of a new apartment on 42nd Street, to be named “The Monticello,” a dump truck filled my lungs with swirls of dust and other unknown substances, giving me just the assistance I needed for my mile jog — pollution. I later arrived on campus, to officially start the day, and witnessed more construction on campus. While walking to class, I thought to myself that the construction of the new 1,500-space parking garage appears to be USF’s attempt at finding Jimmy Hoffa. Or that could just be the beans talking.
Dragging my feet as I walked across campus, I noticed other students doing the same. I heard passersby talk about what little time they had to finish all their projects, papers, studying, etc. before the semester’s end or graduation, for some. While the last two weeks seem most stressful for some college students, I can only think to myself that when it’s over, whether it’s just the semester or one’s full college career, it only gets better.
Grace Agostin is a senior majoring in mass communications and an Associate Editor at the Oracle. firstname.lastname@example.org