Well it's been a while since last I wrote because of something commonly referred to as school. Despite my best efforts, I continue to find myself falling into sleep deprivation and am afraid I might repeat the horrible events of last year. Without taking history and having to write those dreaded papers, this year should be easier. I've probably been averaging 7 hours of sleep each night, and if I became more efficient I might reach that elusive 8 hours of sleep threshold. The main problem is that the sleep in not evenly disturbed and some night I get less than 5 hours of sleep. Interestingly enough, during the bike trip, there were stretches, such as the dread Oklahoma panhandle, where I averaged 6 hours a night and yet I remain healthy. This is probably partially because it is so damn hot there, and I only seem to get sick when I'm cold, but there must be other explanations as well. This has lead to my theory that since sleep deprivation does not cause sickness but just weakens the immune system, if you take counter measures you can survive on less sleep. One thing that I noticed is when I'm getting sick I often have a sore throat which I also get when I'm dehydrated. I also noticed that I drink well below the recommended water intake, sometimes only drinking one of those small school milk cartons a day, and my pee is a very sickly yellow color. To try to remedy this, I've dramatically increased my water intake, especially during days when I'm feeling sub par and it seems to have kept me healthy. By dramatically increasing my water intake, I mean drinking a lot of water, even when I'm not thirsty, in the morning and afternoon to the point where I feel I'm going to throw up. Unfortunately this has had negative side effects as well such as making me run my worst time ever for the cross country time trial, so now I'm careful not to drink too much before a race.
This was going to be an entry about school, but I seemed to have digressed too much about sleep. School has been, well school as usual. I had forgotten how much I hated school until the first day. Okay, maybe I'm sounding a bit harsh. Yes, I know public education is necessary for democracy to work but there must be some better way. I find I learn best what I learn on my own. Anyway, school, at least in suburbia has been perverted to the point where it is no longer about learning but about getting good grades to get into a good college to get a good job. What ever happened to learning for the sake of learning? It seems that so much of school is wasted on examinations instead of actually learning things. Also people learn things just for the tests and don't care if they remember anything afterward. This of course calls into question the whole grading system. On one hand, the grading system may seem good since it motivates people to work hard, but even here it fails since many people don't care about getting bad grades. Some people argue that humans are naturally lazy and need motivation to work. I agree that American society has become this way but it must not have always been so. If people were always lazy, why would they have taken the effort to form society in the first place? Also laziness has no evolutionary advantage and thus would not have became a natural human characteristic. Therefore the problem lies in society and I guess for the foreseeable future we will have to live with the grading system.
School is set up in such a way as to consume your entire life. It may go from 7:30 to 2:15, but you are expected to participate in extracurricular activities and do homework, effetely taking up the whole day. The bottom line is that nobody has any free time anymore. Now I agree that there are a lot of good things that come from extracurricular activities seeing as I participate in so many. They create a great group atmosphere and allow you to participate as part of a greater team, but I also see a need for more quality time with myself. It is true that I often waste my free time, but even in wasting time I often learn new things. There is so much to explore in this world, and so little time to explore it. I have no idea where I was going with this entry and I'm going to stop before I fall asleep.