Brutally honest college essay: Sleep is always on my mind

September 23, 2021 — by George Huang

Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

Common App Prompt #4: The experience peaked during my physics class after lunch. Something about the combination of instant ramen sitting in my stomach and the lesson on projectile motion pushed me over the edge. My head started spinning, my eyes began to droop and the teacher’s words faded into a distant hum. Suddenly, I heard my name called and the precious sleep escaped through my fingertips.

Throughout the course of a typical day, I couldn’t stop thinking about how nice it would be if I just laid down for a while and took a nap. It doesn’t matter whether I slept for four hours, eight hours or 10 hours the previous day. The fog of sleepiness clouding my mind renders me completely useless in all complex activities the next day. It never fails to leave a braindead zombie functioning in my place, and at this point, school isn’t even a place for me to learn new things and meet new people. 

It’s a constant battle to stay awake. 

What I find most intriguing about my perpetual fatigue is that no fix I try ever seems to work. I’ve tried sleeping more, sleeping less, and sleeping just right, yet the moment I open my eyes in the morning the only thought in my mind is, “Man, when can I sleep again?” 

One day over the summer, I decided to truly test my body’s limits. I vowed that after I woke up in the morning, if it told me to go back to sleep, I would. I wanted to see how long it would take for my body to finally say “Yes! I’ve had enough sleep!” or “It’s finally time to wake up!” 

But lo and behold, that evening at 6 p.m. I defeatedly threw my blanket into the air and sluggishly trudged to the bathroom feeling as tired as ever. 

When it comes to sleep, no one listens to my explanations. More often than not, upon laying eyes on me in the morning, my mom says “Oh my god you look so tired! When did you sleep last night?” and then proceeds to accuse me of lying when I say I went to sleep at 10:30 p.m. I should probably talk to a doctor at some point as well, but until then, I can do nothing but curse my body’s unnatural hunger for sleep . 

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