Sleep Is Not An Option, But Failure Is?

Janus Yuen '21 and Andrew Park '22

The following is a log of my journey into the depths of sleep deprivation. I invite you to follow along.

Sun. May 10. 22:00 EDT
Fourscore and seven days ago, I was assigned an English analytical essay on Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. To be honest, I don’t remember the real assignment date. That doesn’t matter, though, because I’m starting it right now. It’s due tomorrow.

Mon. May 11. 00:00
Two hours and twelve Chubbyemu videos later, I realized I still hadn’t started writing my paper. Time to find a thesis.

01:00
Turns out, not even the infinite depths of the internet could satiate my thirst for a thesis. I might want to take another look at the prompt.

01:15
Apparently… it seems… by the look of it I have two other papers due tomorrow (today, actually), and two tests… I don’t check my calendar for a week and this is what happens?

02:00
Sleep is optional.
For motivation I look to my role model, Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. I recall his oft-quoted line, “I don’t need sleep, I need A’s.”

03:00
Up is down and down is up, hot is cold and cold is hot, right is wrong and wrong is right, China is whole again and it broke again, Mitch McConnell is supporting Obamacare, and the floor is actually lava. I am now beyond the point of no return.

04:00
O revered sages of English
Hear ye my desperate plea
I am beset by three papers
Their deadlines, they draw nigh
My Google doc stares at me blankly
Menacing my mental health
Pray ye
Forgive me mine putrid failings
Such as my present inability to compose any semblance of coherent rhyme
Alas! I shall mourn the morning

05:00
An ancient email ripples into memory. Something about classes being pass/fail… But wait, shouldn’t that be EZ game? Why do I have literally three papers and two tests assigned for today?

05:30
Aha! Progress! Four entire lines of pristine, elevated prose: my name, my teacher’s name, the course name, and the date of submission. Indeed a rnagnificent exposition…
I’m done for.

06:00
About fifteen minutes ago I felt a light tap on my shoulder by pudgy fingers: a jolt of inspiration! I frantically write down everything I hear, furiously typing every last word uttered from the mouth of that grandma towering over me. I don’t exactly remember when she appeared, but whatever.

06:15
Her tone has changed most abruptly. Now she seems to be whispering something. She said, “https://youtu.be/dQw4w9WgXcQ.” And something else… she’s just reminding me to cite her on my honor pledge. Right, I don’t want to plagiarize.

07:00
Eureka! ‘Tis done! Now I can rest…

08:25
I woke with a start. Five minutes until class. Shaking of the mist of sleep, I open Zoom. First class, English!

12:20
Right… Those two other papers. Turns out failing is possible in a pass/fail system.

Get some sleep, kids.