Have you ever seen someone or have you yourself ever gotten into an argument with a friend on the topic of who slept the latest? If you go to University High School, chances are that you have.
Imagine that you walk up to your friend , and ask them about their day. They tell you that they were up all night studying for their APUSH test and got a total of 5 hours of sleep. What would you be inclined to say? Would you tell them about your two hours of sleep? Would you tell them you were up that late because you spent all your time on TikTok and had to study for the test too? If so, why do you think you would say that?
University High School has been one of many homes to an unfounded phenomenon, a bragging culture that has transcended the roots of logic, to culminate into the peer pressure and ego of a teenager. This habit of bragging has been deeply ingrained in the culture of UHS and has had perilous effects on its students. It is the practice of bragging over whose sleep schedule is the worst.
“I stayed up till 3 studying for APUSH” and “ Omg. I stayed up till 5 o’clock reading the textbook and I’m still going to fail,” are all phrases that junior Lara Potgieter has heard a multitude of times, in her past year at UHS.
Being an academically driven student, Lara has experienced firsthand the academic and social pressure placed on herself and her peers that has culminated into the creation of this bragging culture. “I believe teens at UHS tend to sleep late because of a combination of workload and procrastination. This is not aided by the fact that it has been normalized for students to sleep late in our student culture,” Potgieter explained.
Lara also attributed the creation of this culture to the extreme competitiveness that Uni is known for. “The bragging culture is synonymous with the amount of pressure placed on students to perform well,” she pointed out. This pressure that many students at UHS face could lead to late hours due to the expectancy to perform well according to UHS standards, which are quite high.
Another aspect brought up was the existence of another bragging culture at Uni surrounding heavy workloads. Students often associate having a heavy workload with sleeping late and having an irregular and sometimes destructive sleep schedule. Unfortunately, a lot of times, this means that students may sleep late or brag about sleeping late simply to prove to their peers or perhaps to themselves that they are working hard.
This culture of constantly having to prove and provide evidence to others and oneself of one’s hard work and efforts, is often a contributing factor to the stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation that many at UHS are subject to.
Unfortunately, the downsides to this practice don’t just stop there. In addition to the mental strain that sleeping late can have on one, this culture can also have harsh repercussions on self-esteem and personal view.
“A lot of times, people don’t understand what teens might be thinking of or how it might be hurting them. I try my best to not get involved in the bragging culture because it can really bring others or yourself down,” stated Ayushi Shah, a junior attending UHS.
As analyzed by Ayushi, sleeping late and taking part in the bragging culture at UHS is often hazardous to one’s own self esteem and confidence. As an individual who had fallen prey to this practice in her middle school and early high school years, Ayushi was able to realize the dire consequences that it had on her peers and soon ceded to take part in it.
Furthermore, sleeping late can also have effects on one’s physical health. Ayushi herself has reported getting less work done and being more drained of energy whenever she sleeps late, “Sleeping late usually decreases my productivity because I have a lot less energy throughout the day,” Ayushi described.
Moreover, Lara has also expressed the effects that this bragging culture has had on her. She has often felt as if she doesn’t work hard enough simply because she is able to complete all her work in a timely manner. In addition, she has stated that her peers are often shocked that she doesn’t sleep at ungodly hours despite her heavy workload.
The dimensions of effects that this culture within UHS has had on both Lara and Ayushi, is shocking to say the least. However, these effects apply not only to them both, but to many other students from all different grade levels. This is a practice that has influenced and is continuing to influence a wide range of the student population- and this needs to change.
UHS is known for a lot of accolades: hardworking students, diversity, competitiveness, inclusion…is this bragging culture something we really want to be included in that list? We as a community must support each other and stop defining our intelligence and self-value based on our degrees of sleep deprivation.
Whether you stay up late watching videos, spend all night doing your homework, or even sleep at a normal time, it is important to consider the repercussions that sleeping late and participating in this bragging culture can have on your health.
Take care of yourself, take care of others, and remember, as stated by Homer the author of the Odyssey: “There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” You’ve just read many words, go take a nap!