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Dr. Ruth's Guide to College Life - Excepts

Dr. Ruth Excerpts
Dorm Life 101
Morning Larks Versus Night Owls
Noise & Other Distractions
Alcohol & Cigarettes
Drug Use
Sexual Side of Drugs & Alcohol
Food Issues
Mixing of the Sexes
Dorm Alternatives
Work Life
Your Residential Advisor


Morning Larks Versus Night Owls.

Medical science has shown that teenagers need a lot of sleep, but college may not be the best place to get it. Once freed from their parents' rules and regulations about when to go to bed and when to wake up, college students choose to turn night into day. Since even the best of class schedules will have the occasional morning class, and many college students hold down jobs that may require their presence in daylight hours, most college students do not average eight hours of sleep a night. Now some try to make up for this by taking naps during the day, sometimes during those classes and sometimes in their room, or by sleeping till noon or later on the days that they don't have class. If you're the type who has been used to sleeping eight hours straight on most nights, you can literally plan for a rude awakening.

Q. I may not have chosen my roommate as a friend, but she's certainly nice enough and I do like her. The problem is that she has all these morning classes and goes to bed around 11 p.m. That's usually when the dorm starts jumping, and I have no intention of missing out on the fun. But I'm always stuck going to someone else's room because my roommate needs her beauty rest. Since I like the girls in the rooms next to ours, I don't want to move out. Is there a way I can get her to move out?

A. Have you asked her? Many colleges have quiet dorms or floors and it sounds like she might be happier in one of those, so maybe if you asked her, she'd be delighted. Of course, before you do that, check out if there is any room in one of those dorms first.

If that is not an option, then I would talk to her about some compromises. For example, on Friday and Saturday nights, she doesn't have to go to bed so early. Why not ask her to help you sponsor some get-togethers in your room on those nights. She could split the cost of getting some soda and chips, for example. That would allow you to repay those other girls whose rooms you're always in. Definitely let her know that her sleep habits do bother you, and then see what you can work out. According to resident advisers I spoke with, the issue of living on different schedules is one of the most common problems among roommates. If you've got a schedule that's chock full of early morning classes and your roommate never goes to bed before 4 a.m., then you're going to be sleep-deprived, and that makes it very hard to absorb all this knowledge the college is doling out. And it's not just nighttime sleep that can be affected, because if one roommate wants to take an afternoon nap while the other is watching their favorite soap, the conflict will continue into the daylight hours as well.

This is not only a roommate issue, because it's usually the entire dorm that's making enough noise to wake up the dead. And let's face it, if all your friends are up, you're not going to want to miss out on the action, whatever it is, so to some degree you're going to have to adapt.

If you're planning your class schedule before you actually arrive at college, be sure to leave some mornings free so that you can sleep late. You can only go so many days in a row on four or five hours' rest. Pack some earplugs. There will be nights when you're utterly exhausted and will need to conk out before dawn. Remember, sleep deprivation has been used as a form of torture, so don't suffer needlessly. Cat naps can be quite refreshing. Even 15 minutes' worth of sleep in between classes can keep you going.

Don't abuse caffeine, in whatever form. You need to sleep to absorb what you are studying, so staying up all night before an exam will only have a negative impact. If you really are having problems staying awake in class, go to see your RA. This is one roommate problem where there is the potential for help. If others in your dorm report having the same problem, then you can switch roommates so that you share quarters with someone who also likes to get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

  Continued Next

Dorm Life 101 | Morning Larks Versus Night Owls | Noise and Other Distractions | Alcohol and Cigarettes | Drug Use | The Sexual Side of Drugs and Alcohol | Food Issues | The mixing of the Sexes | Dorm Alternatives | Work Life | Your Residential Advisor


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Dr. Ruth's Guide to College Life
By Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer And Pierre Lehu

Published by Madison Books
4720 Boston Way
Lanham, Maryland 20706

Distributed by
National Book Network


ISBN 1-56833-171-1




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