Don't Feed the Students After Midnight
- Written by VCU Staff
- May 9, 2012
It’s that time of the year again; students cluster together in study groups sacrificing most meals and all sleep to satisfy the perpetual ache of exam prep. If you haven’t seen your roommate in five days, no fear! She’s been living at the library. Perfectly acceptable change of habitation as long as she remembers to meet basic human needs, but then again, it is exam time.
I don’t know how many of you have actually attempted to visit Cabell Library in the past week, but it’s a bit terrifying. Shady characters that I can only presume were students before the pressure hit huddle over their respective stacks of notes and textbooks, looking suddenly over their shoulders at even the slightest sound. It’s obvious these kids are running solely off caffeine and whatever prescription supplements they can get their hands on. Showers are about as welcome as sunlight to gremlins – I feel as if any moment these poor souls will shudder, shake and burst into flames.
It’s a terrifying time of year, finals. Most moments would fit seamlessly between the gore-tastic deaths and adrenaline-juiced chase scenes of your average B-grade horror movie. Pressure from advisors, parents, even friends can drive anyone a little bit mad. My favorite justification throughout the semester is, “If I get a hundred on the final,” a contingency which we all, consequently, kill ourselves to meet. Just curious, how many you have actually gotten that redemptive hundred on your final that you needed?
Final exams aren’t miracle workers. If you don’t put effort in throughout the semester, placing too much pressure on a final has a better chance of reiterating your mediocre academic skills than actually pulling your grade up. Too often students’ thoughts fester amongst unrealistic expectations for the end of the semester. This manifests itself through equally improbable and grossly unhealthy study habits. I don’t know about you, but I’m terrified looking in the mirror at my zombified state after two weeks of cramming and sleep deprivation. Post-exam students would sooner fit the profile of horror film antagonists than your average human being.
The only reason I have not joined the ranks of the morbidly sleep deprived this semester is my iron resolve to take the time to eat and sleep regularly, no matter the consequences. After a small and terrifyingly difficult shifting of priorities, I find myself significantly more prepared to handle the pressures faced at the notion of our imminent final exams. I know how daunting the task of attending to basic human functions can be in this high-stress environment. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have made the commitment to myself had I not slept through my last final of fall semester after three consecutive all-nighters. But alas, sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom to really achieve a change in behavior.
I can only hope that those of you taking the time to read this will heed my warnings of guaranteed doom with the sacrifice of sleep. You can only go on so long before you completely crack – take my word for it. You don’t want to end up like poor Gizmo, do you?