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4 Reasons why 48-hour long Study Sessions are an Awful Idea

These days all-night study marathons are as common in colleges as tent camping and mace. Maybe it’s because of too much heavy coursework, or maybe it’s just an increase in the number of party-hounds and stoners going to college. Either way, as finals week draws near, energy drink sales sky-rocket and large hordes of stressed-out students disappear into libraries and dorm rooms in an attempt to cram an entire semester of studying into a single weekend.

For reasons that are not party or drug related, I recently vanished from civilized society to conduct my own last-minute, 48-hour long study binge. (And in this case, I feel that “binge” is an appropriate word to use, since I was staggering like a drunk by the end of it.)

But just in case anybody else out there is thinking that sleep deprivation sounds like a great way to condense your education and get some extra free time… let me give you four good reasons why it’s not worth it:

 

1) Sleep Typing

College courses require tons of writing, and if you’re in grad school chances are that 90 percent of all your work is writing papers. In fact, if your finals week consists of only multiple-choice tests with a few short answer questions… you’re still in your academic toddlerhood. Come back when you’ve hit intellectual puberty.

But we veterans know, any real college course is going to require you to produce at least 30 pages of hard-core, thoroughly sourced, deeply insightful, academic brain-candy… Because if the professor thinks that your paper lacks depth, you might as well start filling out the McDonald’s job application now.

... This poor girl's thesis paper suffered from a genetic fallacy.

 

But sleep deprivation is the kiss of death for your award winning thesis. The reason: Micro Sleeps.

There is a point at which your brain is so desperate for sleep that it will suddenly shut off entirely, and go immediately into a dream state that can last anywhere from a half a second to 30 seconds… and you are completely unaware it’s happening. I’m not making this up.

...in fact, I think this could explain a lot about American politics.

 

I seriously dealt with this. I would be writing a paper, meaning to type something like,

“Therefore these passages cannot support this alternate hypothesis.”

But when I finished typing, I would look and realize what came out was

“Therefore these Cheeznips are stale and cannot support this effort to shoes when I get theessssssssssssssssssss…………….”

My Cheeznips were stale… but I doubt that would impress my profs. When I proofread my work before turning it in, I found several other insane statements in my paper. Hopefully I didn’t microsleep while I was fixing them. But at least I’m not the only one who has done this.

 

2) Psychosis

If you do decide to forgo sleep, nothing really happens the first night except a lot of yawning. The next day gets a lot harder, but you’re still your normal self… only now you’re doing a constant bleary-eyed head bob, like a semi-conscious Butabi brother.

...Only more tired... and less idiotic.

 

But there comes a point when you get so tired that the boundaries or reality start to blur. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say they get wavy. Because at some point in the last half of my study marathon, my computer screen began to look like the surface of a rippling pond. I almost felt like I should be able to put my arm through it like a watery portal into cyberspace.

As if that wasn’t enough, my office began to seem like it was filled with sunlight. Every few minutes I would pause to be amazed at how bright my office was, and wonder about the sunlight coming in through the window behind me… and then I’d realize that there are no windows in my office… and that it was dark outside…. and that I had already paused to consider this amazing sunlight 15 times in the last few hours. It was not a comforting experience.

...this was me at about 2:45am... by 4am there was an orca... and Michael Jackson music.

 

And finally, to top it all off, there was the constant traffic of phantom people and animals walking by outside my office door. Every time one of them walked by, I couldn’t help turning my head to look. Of course nothing was ever there, making me even more concerned for both my sanity and the quality of the writing being produced by my dysfunctional brain.

 

3) The Third Wind

You know that moment when you’re staying up late, where you magically go from being nearly comatose to feeling like you could stay up for at least five more hours? It usually happens around the same time that every lame joke becomes hilariously funny, and it’s commonly referred to as your “second wind.”

Well, it wears off… big time. Somewhere around 7am the next morning, your second wind blows you right into a brick wall.

But if you can just hang on until the 35th hour of being awake, something else magical happens. I call it the “third wind.” (I know… how did I ever come up with that?) This third wind is a lifesaver if you need to concentrate, but there’s also something very wrong about this experience.

This is pretty much the perect illustration...

 

The way I see it, the second wind is your body tapping into some reserve source of energy when it realizes that you are bent on getting more junk done tonight. But the third wind is your brain getting so crazy tired, that it just stops feeling things… such as your need for sleep.

When you hit this third wind, your brain has finally realized that you never intend to sleep ever again. It has been screaming at you to GO TO SLEEP! for about 35 hours now, and has finally given up in defeat. You’ve won, and now your brain is preparing to destroy itself to meet your demands.

But the idea that your brain can just give up asking for sleep is too scary to even imagine. How can you trust your brain to do anything right at that point? I mean, your brain could do some crazy and horrifying things to you… like suddenly decide to make you into a Justin Beiber fan…

…still think staying awake is a good idea?

 

4) Post Study-binge Brain Drain

Even if you’ve never been drunk, we all have a pretty good idea what it’s like… just imagine the biggest migraine possible that starts first-thing when you wake up. Well, post study-binge brain drain isn’t quite that bad, but I think it’s probably close.

For the next two days after my study-binge, I was nearly useless. I was able to sit at a desk and work… and accomplish next to nothing. And talking to me for those two days was probably as stimulating as watching the World Ice Fishing Championships.

...once again... the perfect illustration.

 

Plus there was the pounding pain in my face for two days. It was so bad that I even felt irrationally tempted to pound my fist into my forehead, on the off chance that it would send the pain toward the back and feel more like a normal headache. As a result, I was either walking around with a pathetic expression of misery, or I was punching myself in the face like a moron.

 

In short, I spent the next week trying unsuccessfully to not be a useless idiot. If that sounds like something you would like to try, be my guest. But I would suggest a different strategy… one that involves more forethought and sleep… and less face pain.

 

Crazy Car Seat Baby

OK, I promise I will not turn this blog into a chronicle of cute YouTube videos. (Though you know there’s no denying it… you love them. If you don’t, check your pulse.)

But this one is especially suited for this blog because it is my son. All parents have experienced moments when it appeared that their child had left the realm of sanity and was frolicking about in the pastures of lunacy. But I just happened to catch such a moment on tape.

This particular episode was induced by the combination of facing forward in the car for the first time ever, along with one of my son’s favorite treats… licorice.

Watch at your own risk.

So Cute Your Brain Will Melt

Every once in a while, amidst all the news of disasters, government scandals, wars, elections, and controversies; just when you can’t take anymore miserable, horrifying, awful reality… you have to stop and watch a cute cat video.

I have to admit, I am not immune to the appeal of baby kittens peeking out of a drawer, or falling asleep standing up. But nothing tops the cuteness of this video. You thought your kid was cute, and he/she is. But there is enough cuteness in this video to cause epileptic seizures. The government is probably already exploring ways to use it as a weapon.

But don’t take my word for it. You must watch.

Life Without Limbs

This has got to be one of the most inspiring men I have ever seen in my life. If anyone had a right to feel cheated by God, it is this guy. And yet he has taken what most people would consider to be an enormous disability/hindrance/curse, and used it to have an influence on the world that nobody else could have. His condition gives him the ability to break through personal barriers that no one else could, and he uses that to point people to Jesus.

This guy has such a gift. Seeing what God has equipped him to do in the lives of so many… I would almost volunteer to give up my own limbs just to touch people the way he does. These are a must watch.



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Stuff That I Wish I’d Created (Pt. 1)

1) Calvin and Hobbes

I’m not really into comic strips. In fact, the only time I would really look at the funny pages in the newspaper growing up was when I was bored out of my mind… and the funny pages weren’t much of a cure either.

But Calvin and Hobbes was pure genius. Other comic strips, like Family Circus and Peanuts, tried to satirize childhood. But Family Circus was always too cute to be very funny and Peanuts kids took life so seriously all the time. Snoopy was the only character that really enjoyed himself. But Calvin was both believable as a kid and exaggerated enough to be REALLY funny. I was never such an insane, morbidly imaginative, ADHD maniac as Calvin was, but somehow I felt like I could identify with him.

But my favorite part of Calvin and Hobbes was the snowmen strips. If we got more snow where I live, I would build these. Enjoy!

Talent

tal·ent

–noun

  1. a special natural ability or aptitude: a talent for drawing.
  2. a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent.

These definitions are adequate for most things, but after watching the video below, I think we need a new definition of the word talent. Specifically because the man in the video is supposed to be the “World’s Most Talented Man” To be sure, he has many talents. But the MOST talented man in the world?

I mean, some of that stuff WAS kinda cool. But what good is it, other than for entertainment (and even for that it’s just okay)? I have a talent for saying the alphabet backwards, and probably a couple hundred other equally useless talents. Does that make ME the most talented guy in the world?

Also, I didn’t quite get the beginning. Did he just put on a diaper in mid air, while falling off that wall? Weird.

Should Israel be afraid of Egypt?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the situation in Egypt lately. The people who are celebrating over Mubarak’s resignation are celebrating too early, and (depending on what happens over the next 6 months) may wake up one day to an even worse dictatorship than before. This whole situation has moved too quickly and left Egypt open to some very dangerous people, namely the Muslim Brotherhood. Their whole mission is inspired by the book “Milestones” by Sayyid Qutb, and parts of the philosophy of Malik Bennabi.

British Historian Niall Ferguson explains it best in this video:

We as Americans should be very concerned with the current balance of power in Egypt (or rather, the imbalance of power). All existing political parties were under Mubarak’s thumb and have almost no grass roots support. The bulk of political influence rests with the Muslim Brotherhood, which despises America, currently has members on the council rewriting Egypt’s constitution, and has members in control of the military currently running the country.

But Israel has even more to be concerned about, because the odds that the Egypt will come out of this with a democratic government that is friendly to Israel are very, very slim. Israel is quickly becoming isolated, surrounded on all sides by nations with varying degrees of hostility toward their presence.

But the more I’ve been thinking about it in light of world history and Biblical prophecy, the more I become impressed with the idea that Israel will never be destroyed. I suppose it’s possible they could be scattered abroad again, but not likely. And even if they were scattered, they’d somehow come back to form a nation yet again. They will never be destroyed.

I found this quote from Mark Twain that says it best:

“…If statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky way. properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and had done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it.

The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

– Mark Twain
(“Concerning The Jews,” Harper’s Magazine, 1899)

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