Wake Up, Lawrenceville

Editorial  /  by 137th Editorial Board  /  November 11, 2017

Fiona Gould '18 / The Lawrence

Nothing in this editorial is new. Nothing about this subject is original. There’s nothing The Lawrence can say about sleep that hasn’t already been shouted from the rooftops of every building on campus a hundred times over. At this point, even God must know about how often Lawrentians lose sleep.

Here is where I would tell you all about the different studies. The one from the National Sleep Foundation that found that “73 percent of those adolescents who report feeling unhappy, sad, or depressed also report not getting enough sleep at night and being excessively sleepy during the day.” The one published by the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Journal, which states that “after 17-19 hours without sleep, [...] performance on some tests was equivalent or worse than that at a [blood alcohol content] BAC of 0.05 percent.” And don’t forget that, according to Stanford Medicine, not getting nine hours of sleep regularly has been shown to lead to “an inability to concentrate, poor grades, drowsy-driving incidents, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide and even suicide attempts.” But we know this information. So why are we still here?

Here’s where we, The Lawrence, would offer some insightful new solution. Here’s where we point out how the School has genuinely tried to fix the problem. 24-hour passes. Study Hall restrictions. Less homework on Mondays. And here’s why all of these solutions fail: No matter what steps the School takes, we students will never sleep until the School starts caring more about students’ health than their grades. It should come as no surprise that, despite administrative efforts and frequent acknowledgement of the problem, the pressure that comes from our classes, clubs, and college at Lawrenceville forces us to commit to success instead of healthy lives.

As Fall Term comes to an end, students, let’s reflect. How much have we hurt ourselves this week, and for what? A third of a letter grade? To be somehow worthy of matriculation to an Ivy League school? Enough is enough. We need to start putting ourselves first—before the grade, before college, before everything.

And to the administration: If time is the currency of Lawrenceville, students have only 24 hours worth of capital. That may seem like enough, but once you subtract school, sports, social activities, students’ capital dwindles. Once you include homework and health, it dwindles further. Once you consider that, in this competitive environment, working until one has nothing left to give is the norm, it disappears. If you’re not already seeing the toll in our schoolwork, know that we’re drawing that currency from ourselves and our sleep.