June 6, 2011

I think I take more naps now as an AP student than I did as a child

Today during lunch hour (after I bought my milk and cookies – lunch of champions) my two friends and I decided that napping on the cement was the best use of our time before sixth period started. We lied face down on the cement in the middle of the walkway between a wing of classrooms and our Tree (we have claimed it as our own land and are currently contemplating secession). The cement was warm and the sun hit my back in a fashion that could only be described as heavenly (apparently Nirvanic is not a word, though it would be a lot more rhetorically effective). By covering my face with my sweatshirt (for some reason it has been unseasonably cold in my town, despite the fact that it is June) I was able to block the sun from my eyes and actually relax. After the unbelievable stress I have been going through this was the most content I had been in weeks.

Rather than questioning our behavior, all of my friends (Yes, I have friends. Shut up.) spent the rest of the lunch period being jealous that they had not thought of this a month ago during AP testing or four months ago in the midst of Murderous Academic Event season.

This made me realize that, including my new walkway nap spot, I have established no less than six prime napping locations on campus over the last three years. There is the couch in the choir room (one of my favorite places on campus, easily), the lab table in the unused science classroom (I once spent an entire Science Olympiad workday sleeping there. At one point I stretched out on my back and realized that, because the table was more of a slab than anything, I felt like I was being sacrificed on the Stone Table. Right as I yelled out to my teammates, “I am Aslan!” our coach decided to walk through the door. I think he’s considering recommending me to a medical professional. The psychiatric kind.), the floor in my calculus classroom (On the day before the AP test I decided that integrating inverse trig functions was far less important than getting a desperately deserved nap. My friend didn't mind when I channeled my inner ninja from my place on the floor and saved him from a falling 32 oz soda.), the sofa in the Social Studies department office (where I spent a good portion of Mock Trial season my sophomore year after I came down with mononucleosis), my car (does that count as on-campus?), and the shaded patch of grass by the Tree.

The scary thing is that I’m sure I’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to creative places to nap. AP students are beyond overworked, and it’s not just because of the classes we take. Most of us can handle the homework that’s assigned, finish the projects within a timely fashion, and basically make it through the year with little difficulty. The problem, however, is what we do when we’re NOT in class.

AP students, it seems, are far more likely to participate in extra-curricular activities, be it Robotics, Mock Trial, History Day, Science Fair, Youth Court, Student Senate, Science Olympiad, programming team, choir, band, orchestra, or one of the dozens of clubs our school offers. Then there are AP study sessions that each take up 3-6 hours a week outside of regular class time. Not to mention the commitments we make outside of school – volunteering at a local hospital, participating in a regional environmental committee, tutoring on a voluntary or paid basis, internships at universities, athletic teams, Community Theater. Most of us don’t get home until after 8 or 9 each night. Factor in the three or four hours of homework we need to complete and you will understand why we are always so tired. Sleep doesn’t count when you are already overworked and overstressed to the point where you’re going grey at 17. I can’t think of the last time I woke up in the morning and felt legitimately well-rested.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Maybe it’s for the same reason we are in AP classes – we want to go to college.

The pressure to do well in school in order to be accepted to a prestigious university is tremendous in our group. We overextend ourselves to no end because that is what is expected of us by our parents, our teachers, our counselors, and our peers.

So what can be done? What can you do to help ease our pain?

Implement naptime as a regularly scheduled class period.

We beg of you.

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