Friday, September 3, 2010

'Why can't I sleep? I blame journalism'

The Huffington Post shared this short essay from Oakland University journalism student Kay Nguyen, who makes a topic that could've seemed a bit conceited or too "inside baseball" very accessible -- and fun.

It's safe to say that I'm yet another sleep-deprived college student.

My family's fairly routine schedule has always given me optimal sleeping conditions since I was born and still does.

That's right. I live at home and commute to school. That means that I'm sleeping less, but can't really blame it on anyone else.

I never really had to learn how to sleep in a dorm.

When I did have to share an apartment, though, I learned that a stubborn routine does not work to my advantage. I wake up no later than 8 a.m. every day no matter what the circumstances.

Why did my sleeping habits change when nothing else changed, though? Like everything else: I blame it on journalism.

I started staying up later and later soon after I received a laptop. It was given to me -- with careful instructions -- to use for scholarly purposes when I began college.

After never having any electronic entertainment -- that's right: no PlayStations or TVs -- in my room for my whole life, I all of a sudden had access to everything. By everything I mean YouTube and -- at the time -- MySpace.

I then began working for the campus newspaper. Guess when I began harboring the compulsive need to always stay connected and on top of current events?

In addition to staying up late studying, I now had to read every single legitimate news website in order to sound chic and worldly. Also, let's face it: I also read Perez Hilton and admittedly still click on blurbs about Heidi Montag.

After my brief phase of drinking Celebrity Juice, I became a section editor at the campus newspaper. Cue days of no sleep spent producing the newspaper while stressing out over what e-mails came -- and didn't come -- in.

Fast forward to the present day. I'm a caffeine junkie ridden with the nerves of being a student of journalism a.k.a. what others may call a dying industry.

I do unpaid internships, freak out about the prospect of not getting a job, work on my portfolio, worry about the job market, try to get my website up and running, worry about not having a web present to employers, try to get good grades in case I have to go to grad school and bug out a little more while scouring the internet for more unpaid internships that will hopefully land me a job in the future.

That may be why I have trouble sleeping even though I live in a house that is quiet from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Did I mention I'm also the editor-in-chief now? I now refresh that inbox even more and (hopefully) have two more years of it left.

Social networking? I'm not even anywhere close to being a pro, but I am active in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even when I truly have nothing to do, I'll listen to Pandora to fall asleep.

I am the American teenager with distracting digital devices at my bedside. I've been leaving my house at 9 a.m. every weekday for two internships, but have been falling asleep later and later.

I don't think Dr. Michael J. Breus would think that 4-5 hours of sleep is enough. It will probably only get worse, though.

I got my first smartphone this week. I am now going to be even more oversaturated with information, as my hands have not let go of that Crackberry since it came out of its box.

Classes begin next week and newspaper production schedules will begin ruling my life again along with an internship.

Looks like I can keep listening to Rooney's "Sleep Song" and blogging about my sleeping habits while I'm laying in bed, though.

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