Drowsy grads share the “rest” of their university experiences.
Revolutionary Alarm Clock
By Rebecca Hoffman Carlson (BS ’95)
One day I decided to nap in the grass on the quad near the JKHB. I needed some way to make sure I didn’t sleep right through my next class. This was in the days before cell phones and PDAs, and while I owned an HP graphing calculator with a built-in alarm clock, I did not have it with me that day. Being a physics major, I decided instead to use my knowledge of the earth’s motion to ensure that I woke up on time. I looked at the position of the sun, estimated how much it would move in two hours, and then found a spot on the grass where the JKHB would cast a cold afternoon shadow on me by the time I ought to be waking up to get to my next class. With my backpack for a pillow, I curled up in that carefully calculated spot and went to sleep.
It worked! Two hours later, too cold to sleep comfortably, I woke up in the shade, slightly chilled but very proud of myself. Now if only I could have gotten some extra credit for my sundial alarm clock!
Sleepless in the Summer of ’55
By Janet Greene Parker (BA ’56)
My summer of student sleep deprivation was not from ardent studying, but from a hot bedroom registering “slow bake” most of the night. Betty Jones and I shared a little rental house for the summer session with another girl who had the downstairs bedroom. Betty and I slept upstairs.
We hoped for cool air to drift in and temper the heat at bedtime. It cooled down outside, but not for us. So we hatched an adventurous plan for a cool, comfortable night’s sleep—on the roof of the Eyring Physical Science Building.
With Betty’s friend from Ogden, we three strolled onto campus with blankets and snacks and entered the science building as if we were cutting through. Instead, we went to the top floor and hid in the restroom until the building was secured for the night. Then we stepped out a hall window onto the roof and chose a spot to sleep.
We soon discovered that our thin blankets were insufficient cushion against the rock-covered roof. We tossed and turned to find the softest spots, without success. Just then a gigantic sound exploded near us. We bolted to our feet. The electronic toll of the carillon bells blasted from loudspeakers mounted close by.
Through the night the bells jarred us and the rocks bedeviled us. The coup de grÃ¢ce came as the cool night air we had so anticipated turned very cold, chilling and waking us. We slept in fits and starts all night.
The next morning we arose early and were glad to pack up and drag ourselves home again, still sleep deprived. The venture had failed, yet this was an escapade we would never forget nor regret!
Big Fish Story
By Shantelle Christensen Cox (BA ’97)
Heber City, Utah
“Call me Ishmael.” Those words will forever remind me of the Harold B. Lee Library. It was fall semester of ’88, and I needed to read Moby Dick for an American novels class. Day after crisp autumn day I plodded off to the library to immerse myself in Melville’s classic tome. The only problem was I could never get past page two. It did not matter whether it was a clear sunlit morning, an overcast afternoon, or an ever-lengthening evening—once I settled onto my favorite bench by the window and cracked open the book, sleep always got the better of me. And it wasn’t just a bit of droopy-eyed head nodding. Several times I was awakened by the Hawaii Five-O theme playing at closing time. That just seemed to complete the whole nautical motif for me. To this day I have no idea what is on page three of Moby Dick. But sometimes when I can’t sleep
I read those words again in my mind, hoping for the same sedative effect. It never works. It’s just not the same without my favorite bench in the library.
The Highlight of My Night
By Beverly Andersen Timmons (BS ’79)
During my first semester at BYU, I still hadn’t found that delicate balance between having the time of my life and being the good student that I knew I could be. Because of this, I ended most evenings in bed with a textbook in my hands. I thought I could retain information read with blurry eyes when I was dead tired at 1 in the morning.
On one particular night I fell asleep with a bright pink marker in my hand as I attempted to study—but lost the battle. I was sitting up in bed, and as my head nodded, the marker made a nice mark, not on my book, but on my forehead. I awoke the next morning to a beautifully decorated face that would make any preschooler proud!
Lost in La-La Land
By Sariah Gonzalez Kakishita (BS ’99)
One winter semester my brother Alberto and I decided to take an afternoon singing class. We were always tired since we both got only about five hours of sleep every weeknight. We had singing class in the afternoons, when we were done teaching at the MTC and after lunch. One day as I was sitting in class, Iâ€ˆsuddenly heard the teacher calling my name. I must have had my eyes open, otherwise she would not have called me, or so I like to think. But I had no idea why she was calling on me. All I could mumble as an answer was, “I’m sorry,
I don’t know the answer. I didn’t do my homework.” The teacher smiled at me but did not say anything.
Alberto, who was sitting right next to me, stood up and opened the classroom door. When he came back to his seat he whispered to me, “I don’t even know you.” Later, he told me that the teacher had asked me to open the door because the classroom was getting hot and stuffy. Boy, was that an embarrassing wake-up call!
To Sleep…or Not to Sleep?
By Elisa Mitchell Eames (BA ’02)
The haze of memories surrounding my freshman year at BYU include the usual midnight movies, finals-week trances, and late-night cramming sessions—I once spent longer taking a test than I had spent sleeping the night before.
My first semester, I was given a small part in a student-directed play to be performed on campus. Excited about my BYU stage debut, I willingly accommodated the director’s ongoing changes to the script. In the end, I was to sit in the dark on a lift above the stage with my back to the audience. The lift would gradually descend as the play progressed until the end, when it would be level with the rest of the stage. At that point I was to finally stand, face the audience, and bask in the glory of my one line.
Performance day arrived amidst tests, papers, and missed sleep. Exhausted, I sat on my little chair staring at nothing yet endeavoring to remain in character. Minutes began to pass unnoticed as I listened to the droning voices of the other actors on stage and fought to keep my eyes open. And then, to my horror, I jerked awake and realized that some unaccounted time had passed me by.
I had actually fallen asleep onstage! I panicked. Had I missed my cue? Had I botched my one glorious line? Fortunately, I hadn’t slept through it.
Needless to say, my sleepy performance didn’t win me any awards, but at least I didn’t start snoring.