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Whether it’s because of procrastination or time-consuming extracurriculars, it is no surprise we Townsend students, probably not unlike other high school students in New York City, are often victims of sleep deprivation. Between juggling collaterals, school work, teams, clubs, jobs, and our mental sanity, it seems as if there is never enough time in one day. Being the dedicated students we are, sometimes the only thing we’re willing to sacrifice for good grades is sleep. It is a sad truth that sleep deprivation is such a common occurrence that it seems as if it’s a rite of passage to graduate from Townsend Harris.
But what’s worse is that here at Townsend Harris, there are basically only two types of people: those who feel they haven’t gotten any sleep and those who really didn’t get any sleep. It’s never enough to complain about the 5½ hours of sleep you got last night– in fact, it’s impossible to do so without one of your friends one-upping you with their 4 hours, proudly boasting about it. Sadly, it is the latter who wins the competition.
Getting less sleep should not be equated with being extraordinarily hard-working students who stay up all night studying for exams, especially because in most cases, I can assure you that’s not the case. While there definitely are studious kids who won’t settle for sub-par performances on tests and student athletes who spend their afternoons in school practicing their respective sports, I’m willing to bet the bulk of students who stay up late have wasted away their time and have to scramble at midnight to finish up their work. It’s understandable that we may want to commend those with serious time commitments on their plate, but we allow the procrastinators to be mixed into the praise.
Championing the late-sleepers, specifically the procrastinators, merely fosters a terrible attitude toward work ethic and a recklessness toward sleep. It also encourages students to join a competition of sorts, one to see who gets the least amount of sleep. Especially since teenagers should really be getting closer to 8½ to 9 hours of sleep, we shouldn’t be encouraging each other to embrace unhealthy lifestyles and to jeopardize our own health.
The diligent student that regularly achieves a healthy amount of sleep every night and actually deserves our praise often goes unnoticed amidst our putting the “hardworking” late-sleepers on pedestals. We should strive toward better time management and to be more like these people, instead of bragging about the few hours of sleep we managed to get, as if that were any admirable feat.
We don’t need to check Facebook 10 times an hour, nor do we have to start collaterals the night before they’re due. Instead of competing with each other to see who stays up later or who sleeps the least, we should focus on our own work ethic and not worry about what others are doing. Just because there are people out there who start their homework late and are up until the wee hours of the morning studying, does not mean that we should do it too. Competition can be healthy, but in this form it is detrimental to all. Everyone’s experience is individual of each other. You don’t need to give up your precious beauty sleep to validate your experiences as a student at Townsend Harris.