The Experience, Mark McPhillips '20
Spring Lake, New Jersey
Film Studies, Sociology Major
One skill that I have cultivated at Conn throughout my four years is the ability to hold several spinning plates without letting a single one of them drop. Between three classes, an honors thesis, two jobs and being in an improv group, it is safe to say that every day of the semester is filled with challenges and commitments. Each year at Conn has added another layer of responsibilities. Whether it is taking on a new leadership position, searching for an internship, developing my writing skills or honing my career path, I keep myself busy. Having a full schedule comes at the cost of letting a few of those spinning plates go, so I have to find new ways to stop those plates from crashing.
A luxury that comes with being a senior is the ability to pick my classes before other class years and consequently get the best time slots. I am not sure how the luck on this one worked out but my earliest class for both the fall and spring semesters begins at 1:15 p.m. My senior fall is the first time I have had mornings and early afternoons completely free. It was great at first to use these open windows of time to sleep in and relax before class but I quickly realized I needed to use this time to my advantage. When I did not schedule that time for study, I found myself scrambling to complete assignments at night in the library or running from meeting to meeting without much time to breathe.
Last week I tried a new tactic. Instead of going to bed around 2 a.m., due to general insomnia and the fact that I am a night owl, I aimed to turn in around 12:30 a.m. The minor improvement in my sleep schedule made me feel more active and awake in the morning. Once I got that under my belt I upped the challenge. I started getting up consistently at 9:30 a.m. every morning to give myself more time before class began to complete work for my thesis and catch up in my other classes. The more I went to bed earlier and awoke earlier, the more I realized how much I love the morning. I have always known this but have not often been awake in the morning without having a class to run to. Between the friendly faces on the first floor of Shain library, the smell of espresso wafting through the Blue Camel Cafe and the sun shining in through the library’s large windows, it is sort of impossible to not love my surroundings.
My friend has a saying that his father passed on to him that plays in my head whenever I perform this newfound ritual: “Early to bed and early to rise keeps a fella healthy, wealthy and wise.” This quote actually originates from Benjamin Franklin and it has remained timeless. I hope to pass down this knowledge to first-years and tell them that establishing a sleep and study schedule is just as important as your class schedule.