Look Alive, Man

By Christina Rafael, Photographer/Videographer

Last week I woke up in a pile of my own drool.

As I awoke, I slowly took in my surroundings. I was about 30 minutes into my hour-long class, laying face down on my backpack. As I looked around the room, I was assured by my classmates that, yes, I had been snoring.

I’d like to say this was the first time this has happened this semester, but I would surely be lying. In fact, I’ve fallen asleep four times this semester in various classes.

With my hectic school schedule, internship, part-time job and brand new puppy, there just seems to be less time for sleep.

It wasn’t until the last snooze, when I l found a zipper indentation on my forehead, that I decided to take defensive action.

If you’re anything like me, caffeine has always been a good friend you count on. My usual morning coffee doesn’t seem to be cutting it anymore, so I decided to double my intake … or triple it.

Although it keeps me awake, the caffeine can sometimes turn me into that annoying student who answers every question in class with zeal – which doesn’t win many popularity contests. I also seem to fidget more, but it sure beats sleeping.

Chew yourself awake.
I’m not sure where I came across this tip, but it definitely works: Whenever you feel yourself slipping into slumber, try to get something cinnamon to chew or suck on, like a stick of Big Red gum. This also works on nights out when feeling less focused.

If you can’t wake up in your seat, go to the bathroom and splash cold water on your face. For women who worry about makeup: Dampen a paper towel and place it over your eyelids. Anything cold against your skin will instantly wake you up.

Induce Pain.
A small amount of pain can sometimes be the push you need to stop snoozing in class. If you feel yourself nodding off, try pulling your hair a bit or pinching your arm. But be discreet – you don’t want people to think you’re insane. A helpful trick I found was to wear a rubber band around your wrist. When you feel like sleep is on its way, pull up on the band and snap yourself awake when you release.

Keep yourself entertained.
If you know that what your teacher is talking about is boring and NOT part of the course (e.g. talking about children, pets or other personal nonsense), it may be helpful to find ways to entertain yourself. One of my favorite things to do is people watch in class.

Many of the students are going through the same dilemma and are trying to wake themselves up; it can be helpful to scan for tips.

I also like to see what everyone is looking at online. Once I found an entire row of people shopping for shoes.

All tips aside, the best way to fight sleep in classrooms is to strive for consistent amounts of

After my incident in class, I made an effort to get to sleep before midnight each night. It’s hard to stick to, especially after closing shifts, but it gets me to my morning meetings. And I no longer have to deal with unwanted drool.

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