I was waging a war against my desire for a nap, and I was losing.
With a final flutter, my leaden eyelids snapped shut. Instantly, darkness gathered me in its comforting embrace and the chains of exhaustion wrapped around me to pull me into the depth of unconsciousness. The temptation of surrendering to sleep insinuated my every hazy thought and I could feel the strength of my will beginning to crumble. Excuses and justifications assailed me, “Just take a break for five minutes, it’s not that long anyways”, and then another, “I can still listen to the lectures with my eyes closed”. The fatigue dulled my mind so much that I found myself somehow agreeing with the flimsy excuses wholeheartedly. I dimly remembered that I should’ve been paying attention to the organic chemistry lecture, yet right then, I couldn’t summon enough energy to care. I needed the nap, and the consequences could just go and hang themselves.
My descent into slumber was interrupted by a sudden, unexpected twitch that ran through my body and jerked me awake. Startled, I almost dropped my pen as the muscles in my fingers spasmed briefly. My eyes flew open and my mind finally managed to shake itself free from the clinging tendrils of slumber in a manner similar to a dog shaking free the rains droplets from its coat. Realizing how close I came to falling asleep, I silently cursed. A quick glance at the clock told me that I had blanked out for only a couple of minutes.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I could still catch up so long as I don’t fall asleep again. However, that skirmish against fatigue felt that it should’ve lasted longer somehow. The very fact that my strength of will lasted not even a couple of minutes against the onslaught of exhaustion was something I’d rather not dwell upon. Determined not to think about how long I would last this time, I sat up straighter and resolved to stay awake until the end of the class. After all, napping during an organic chemistry lecture of all courses is probably one of the quickest ways to annihilate my GPA.
I would like to tell you that I was able to stay awake during the whole lecture, yet that was about far from the truth as it could get.
As minutes passed, my mind started drifting aimlessly again. I can remember yanking my thoughts back savagely as I caught myself wondering what’s for lunch for what seemed to be the hundredth time. However, despite my best efforts, the haze of exhaustion was seeping through numerous cracks of my resolve. The sweet whispers of sleep were getting stronger and stronger. My mind felt like it was swimming through molasses, incapable of attaching meanings to words that I was hearing. I shook myself again and again, only to be dismayed at how quickly the magnetic pull between my upper and lower eyelids seemed to return with a vengeance. At last, the struggle ended with my will to resist completely crumbling away and the darkness closing around me once again.
My memory of that organic chemistry class was patchy – I can vaguely recall slipping in and out of consciousness, staying awake for no more than minutes at a time. Unsurprisingly, my retention of the lecture resembled an extra-hole-ly hunk of Swiss cheese, thanks to my many blank-outs.
If I leaned one thing today though, it would be this – it’s nearly impossible to fight off exhaustion with sheer will power. The smart thing to do to eliminate fatigue and exhaustion should be actually getting enough sleep.