Wednesday, January 23, 2008


During my junior and senior years of high school, a typical day began around 4:45am. I'd wake up in the middle of night several mornings a week, drive to school, swim for an hour and a half, go to classes from 7:35am until 2:37pm, jump back into the pool for practice from 3-5pm, do 45 minutes of dryland or weights, and then go home. Then I'd do homework until I couldn't do any more, go to sleep, and repeat it all the next day. Rarely during the school day would I step outside the doors of Hampton High School. The thought of a nap or even grabbing a needed sip of water at a fountain was unthinkable. This was my schedule. I wasn't going to let anything get in my way - of graduating, getting a college scholarship, and winning the 100 butterfly at the PIAA swim meet. (NOTE: I never won the 100 fly at states...I was second two years in a role; lost to two different girls; lost each race by less than a tenth of a second.)

Yesterday I headed back to school (my second semester of my first year as a PhD student) - this time as a 30 year old wife, who exercises maybe an hour a day. I had three classes yesterday: an hour of observational epidemiology, an hour of statistical programming, and three hours of my research practicum class. After class I went to the gym and did 50 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength training. And I was whipped. Honestly, I got on the train to go home and couldn't keep my eyes open. I slept from Baltimore all the way to DC. I got home and didn't have the strength or willpower to open my backpack. The idea of doing homework was completely out of the question. I made myself some dinner, read a little bit of news online, picked David up at work, and then fell asleep on the couch before 10:30pm.

My question is: how did I keep my high school schedule? Was I able to do it because I was 16? Was it because I didn't know the beauty/luxury of a good nap? Was all the swimming providing me with more energy? Was it a combination of these things? Or something else entirely? Or is grad school just more draining than high school? Am I using more brain power?

All I know is I'm glad I don't have a high schooler's schedule any more. I can barely keep up with my 17 hours of class each week (15 credits) and an simple hour a day at the gym. I'm also grateful for the fact that I can nap on the train on my way to/from school.

What about you? As an adult are you keeping a schedule similar to high school? Or do you have more freedom during the day? Are you more or less tired now compared to when you were in high school?


Sarah said...

I remember being chronically sleep-deprived all through high school, and I didn't even have morning practices! BUT, though I slept even less in grad school, I have fonder memories of that time because it was fun and I was passionate about learning then, like you. Now, especially being knocked up and all, I am spoiled-- in bed ridiculously EARLY! And if I have an early morning surgery, I feel totally wiped the rest of the day. Should be interesting in four months when I have a sleepless infant! Then, I'll probably look back on that high school schedule fondly!

Jill said...

Y'all should have gone to Ambridge...We didn't have a swim team or homework.

College was definitely the worst in terms of being sleep deprived. Grad school I refused to pull all-nighters--by yr. 2 or 3 of grad school, I was burnt out and was no longer pushed along by a drive to be the best.

Carla said...

i must schedule now is mimicking that of college, minus the morning practices, but add in getting up earlier. when i am the 5am shift, my alarm goes off at 3:45am, at work my 4:45am, off of work by 2pm, do some running around, and then practice from 3:30-5:30. THEN, home to make dinner, clean up and make lunch for the next day...i am dead my 8:00 and usually fall asleep on the couch by 8:30pm. just to wake up and do it all over again the next day. i can't believe that i actually look forward to the 6am shift, where i get to sleep until 4:45am...pathetic!