Lately my sleep schedule has been very erratic. I have no constant sleeping pattern and it really varies from day to day. One of the very few blogs I read regularly, The Minimalists, has a post where the author describes why he wakes up at 3am. His early morning routine involves several hours of writing, working out, and reading before starting the rest of his day. He then is able to go to sleep by 9 or 10 o’clock at night. This idea of being able to work at 3am until the morning sun rises is quite possibly one of the most romantic ideas that I have read about. The sheer fact that the best time to write is when no one is awake (unless drunk or working a night shift) and that there is mostly complete silence is something that many writers like me would love to attain.
As for my sleep schedule, it has varied throughout the week. Just two days ago I went to sleep at 10:30 pm. I was very proud of myself for going to sleep that early. I then proceeded to wake up at 2 am followed by consistently waking up on the hour until my alarm went off at 6 am. This was very frustrating. Later that morning I felt the effects of not getting a straight night sleep.
While taking to a friend, I mentioned my trouble sleeping through the night. Being a year ahead of me in college, she said that during her freshman year she had significant trouble developing a consistent sleep schedule. After describing how I would wake up on the hour, she stated experiencing similar issues. Part of it can be attributed to being in a new environment. In my case, my mind and body are not used to sleeping in a dorm room. Usually people have roommates to deal with but I have a single room with only a shared bathroom.
Along with my erratic sleeping schedule, what made it even worse was my constant screen time. Often right before intending on going to bed, I would be browsing the web or watching video’s on my computer. After being done with my computer for the night, I would then expect to fall asleep very easily. The thought of going to bed while switching from being on the computer to being fast asleep was unrealistic. Studies have even been done by scientists that explain one’s body needs to calm down before sleeping.
After determining that my computer’s main source of not allowing me to sleep properly, I have since decided to get off the normal websites that make me stay up late. These sites include Facebook, Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Plus. I need to understand that at some point I need to just let the notifications pile up so that I can move on with my night. Doing this will allow me to get a good nights sleep.
As for my life besides sleep, I have determined several things that I can do in order make things more enjoyable. Focusing on my happiness will allow me to find joy in going through the rest of college.
Through recently meeting with a counselor at my school, I have begun to realize that I set very high expectations for myself. The standard that I set for almost everything that I do is very high. It seems that my willingness and need to succeed is essential for my own well-being. It was during a recent session that my counselor mentioned people try to attain something they want so badly that it often times does not go their way. Through observations and experiences working with other students, he has found that often times the most remarkable students have a sense of calm and collectedness. They are still able to produce quality work while not feeling the need to have such high expectations of themselves.
In relating to having such high expectations of myself is my thinking of achieving perfection. Needing a perfect GPA, writing the perfect paper, or take the best photographs, the list goes on and on. I have described this idea as wanting to blow college out of the water by succeeding to the highest standard.
Upon reflecting on the things that I learned and was told, I have come to understand my own abbreviated definition for what successful people do in college. These points are more specific to what I am going through right now. Since I only provided three points, I would like to emphasize that there are many more things I did not mention that successful people do in college.
Successful people in college don’t always keep personal records of their GPA readily available. Students who are overwhelmed with panic record every grade they receive and constantly calculate their GPA as a check comparing themselves to others. Even though for my scholarship program I will need to meet the minimum GPA requirements (2.5) I understand now that by not necessarily having the sole focus being my GPA will allow me to do well in my studies then ever before.
One of the realizations is that I worry way too much. I worry about other people, my grades, etc. It comes a point in reflecting back that I wonder how I manage to think for myself. It is through all this worrying that I have begun to ask myself Why worry? As a student, it is common to worry about deadlines and exams. Something to work on for myself is to not worry as much since really it can only set me back further. By not worrying, I will be able to perform better.
Along with being able to worry less, I have implemented a new philosophy in which I will just let things happen. Often times you try to place blocks in life that prevent certain things from happening. Recently I was fretting over the fact that I forgot someone’s name. After understanding that this just happens, I can improve on accepting my own mistakes for what they are. It is not necessarily a negative reflection of myself but more so a commonality of human nature.
By doing all these things and making sure that I live a more balanced life, I hope to improve my outlook. Hopefully this new outlook will allow me to enjoy school and the rest of my life a bit more.
One last thought: Life is a balance. It can differ from person to person. Through life we must attain a sense of awareness and understanding to feel more in tune with our personal well-being.