The life of a college student – late nights, late classes and sleeping-in. Or maybe not. Here are a few students who challenge the sleep-a-holic stereotype, proving that some students do more in the wee hours of the night than most people do all day.
THE POSITIVE DOER
“I joke with my friends that I do more before the sun comes up than my friends do all day,” said Madie Northrop, a sophomore recreational management major and member of the women’s crew team. Because women’s crew has two seasons, 5:45 a.m. practices last all-year long, Monday through Friday. Team members can sleep in on Saturday, but only a little. Practices begin at 6:30 a.m.
Northrop said there is one positive about the team’s practice times. Kelly Drive is practically empty; she can sleep later and drive faster to practice. One can imagine how tired the members of the team must be when that 10:30 p.m. curfew rolls around.
So how can anyone wake up at 4 a.m. when the only light in sight is emitted
from the alarm clock? According to Northrop, it’s all about positive thinking.
“Of course I’m tired mentally during the day,” she said. “But you push through it. A lot of sports call it ‘breaking through the wall.’ It’s a part of it.”
And there’s more motivation than that. If one practice is missed, the team has to run the stairs of Wachman Hall – all 12 flights. And if that’s not enough, there’s more inspiration. “Having a gold medal around my neck makes it all worth it,” Northrop said.
THE LIFE OF THE PARTY
Weekend or not, most college students love to party. But while few feel pity for the hung-over kid who fails the test in his 8:40 a.m. class, perhaps we should start to feel sympathy for those whose job it is to keep those party animals happy.
Meet Jordan Poole, a junior film and media arts major by day and ‘DJ Royale’ by night. He spends at least three nights a week mixing the songs you dance to at various bars in Center City, house and fraternity parties. While the bar crowd is safe at home on the couch, Poole is still packing up his DJ equipment, waiting for his money and then a cab.
“By the time I get home,” Poole said, “it’s three o’clock at the earliest.” Sometimes he returns home even later when he works fraternity or house parties. Though Poole makes sure he finishes his homework early and said he usually gets enough sleep on a nightly basis, he admits that he eventually ends up feeling worn out. So how does he stay awake during classes, and more importantly, keep his energy up while he’s at work?
He remembers who he is playing for. “I hope for a good turnout. I hope people dance. If not, it makes the night so much longer,” he said. “If the crowd is into it … I can go from being tired to pumped up.”
But his night doesn’t end when the music stops.One night, Poole came home around 4 a.m. only to find people on his stoop blasting music. “I tried to go to sleep, but I ended up going outside and hanging out until 6 or 7 in the morning,” Poole said.
THE ROCKY PROTEGE
The sun is just rising. The roads are empty. A peaceful stillness fills the South Philly streets. The only sound comes from his shoes springing off the pavement. If this were a scene straight out of “Rocky,” Matt Makowski is playing Sylvester Stallone’s double.
Makowski, a junior film and media arts major, trains at 7 a.m., six days a week at Philly’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy, located at 1321 Jupiter St. His training, which usually lasts between one and three hours, includes running, jumping rope, shadowboxing, sprints, sparring and boxing with pads.
Makowski has been kickboxing for two years and has since learned the sacrifices that come with being the best. Sometimes he said he feels like he is missing out on parties, especially since can’t afford to be hung over on Saturday mornings. After he finishes sparring on weekdays, he fights to stay awake in class. Sleep is easy for Makowski, but it’s also the enemy.
Sometimes Makowski unconsciously beats his alarm clock to death in the middle of the night. “I’ll wake up after it was supposed to go off and I don’t remember turning it off,” he said while boasting that he manages to wake up no more than half an hour later. “I guess I have a good internal clock, and that wakes me up.”
The TECH Center isn’t the most romantic
location for a marriage proposal. But late one night, Adrian Sierkowski was one of a handful of students to witness the scene.
“She said no, but in a very logical way,” Sierkowski said. “She didn’t want it to happen in the TECH Center.” Sierkowski, a junior film and media arts major, is a TECH Center student employee, who works every Thursday night from 11:30 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Sierkowski’s late-night shift actually begins around 9:30 p.m., when he first grabs something to eat once he finishes
“I figured I would just work straight after
class, rather than going home and coming right back,” he said.
In order to stay awake and prevent death by boredom during his shift, Sierkowski watches seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” and other shows on the computers, obsessively checks his MySpace page and drinks about five cups of coffee per night.
At about 6 a.m. the aimless meandering
begins. “I can’t fall asleep if I’m walking around,” Sierkowski said. It’s how he keeps himself occupied, until the number of people in the TECH Center begins
“People ask me questions and that sort of keeps me awake,” he said. One may expect the shift to get boring, but the night shift is anything but. “The weirdest stuff happens during the overnight shift,” Sierkowski said.
Proposals at 4 a.m., people falling asleep while they work, police escorting
a homeless man away and a group of girls watching gay porn in a conference room, just to name a few. But the strangest occurrence is due to nature.
“Every night at 4 a.m. these birds start flying into everything – buildings, trees, parked cars,” Sierkowski said.
“And then they land on the street and stop moving. It’s so surreal. It’s dead silent and nobody’s around.”
So what could possess any student to work the night shift at the TECH Center? The $14 per hour pay rate? The strange incidents that occur? Try something else.
“Sometimes I’m stopped in the street during the day by students who recognize me,” Sierkowski said. “They say, ‘Hey, you work at the TECH Center and you helped me finish my project at 4 a.m.!'” It seems a little appreciation can go a long way or, more accurately, a long night.
Morgan Ashenfelter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.