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Students facing ‘crunch time’

By Jessica Corriveau

College students are no strangers to all-nighters.

Sometimes it’s because we’re making time to see our friends. Sometimes it’s because a project just isn’t coming together and there’s no time left.

Whether it’s at home or at school, staying up all night to meet a deadline isn’t an uncommon practice during ‘crunch time,’ when every single assignment you have seems to be due the next day.

A recent BBC article revealed that 17 hours of wakefulness – 7 a.m. to midnight – could lead to a brain functioning as if you’d consumed two glasses of wine or a blood alcohol level of 0.05 percent.  The legal limit to operate a vehicle in Ontario is 0.08 percent.

Getting up at 7 a.m. and going to bed at midnight seems pretty reasonable, even conservative, when you factor in a full day in class, then a night of homework, with a part-time job thrown in, and some time for yourself or for friends, so you don’t lose it and burn out.

But is pushing it really worth it? Should we be burning the candle at both ends in an effort to learn it all now and get out into the workforce? How much good is this way of life really doing us?

Intensive programs are just that – intensive. New deadlines are coming up every day and assignments are going to take longer than an hour or two, more than one night in front of a computer. For group assignments, co-ordinating between everyone can be a nightmare. Either way, there’s always something else you should be doing and someone else who needs your attention.

Maybe it’s a matter of extending the programs, tacking on another year to spread things out.

Maybe it’s simply re-evaluating the sheer number of assignments and how much practice we really need before we get the concept. Maybe it’s simply a matter of keeping our noses to the grindstone and using our smartphones to stay on top of it all.

Graduating with our sanity is a challenge, but hey, we’re preparing to conquer the world, right?