How many hours do you get a night?


Humor columnist Heath Yancey describes the new social currency — not sleeping.

Courtesy Startup Stock Photos

As people grow up, the social currency that determines who’s in and who’s out is constantly evolving, leaving many people in the dust trying to keep up with the trends of the time. For some, elementary and middle school was filled with Bakugan and Silly Bandz, forever trading and buying in order to have the thing that no one else did. They all translated into the same language of trying to fit in and earn you the respect of your peers. Most of us look forward to the future where these things turn into the houses we live in, the cars that we drive, the places we vacation or the salaries we are paid. Until then, we are stuck in limbo, having outgrown the needs and wants of childhood, but not having the independence that comes with adult social life. For now, we must work with what we’ve got and outdo each other with our more extreme levels of sleep deprivation.

In a world where involvement is everything, you are left with few options to fit in. In order to impress your peers, talk about how little sleep you got the night before. Some say that it’s involvement in “prestigious” organizations on Grounds, whether it be a secret society or even an acceptance into a selective major program. With so many diverging interests on Grounds, the only University-sanctioned standardized measure of involvement and social capital is hours of sleep. The bags under your eyes become battle scars, the yawn your battle cry as you wage war against the night, armed with caffeine and the fellow students sharing the 24-hour library. Social interactions are only worthwhile if you are exchanging stories about the all-nighter that ruined your sleep schedule for weeks or the trench warfare required to finish your midterm paper for your Sociology class.

The best way to flex on your friends about your abhorrent sleep schedule starts with your outfit. For girls, leggings and a sweatshirt are the way to go. Most think that people will only know you stayed up all night if you didn’t make the effort to put on makeup in the morning. False. The best strategy for making everyone jealous is to wear your makeup from the day before! For guys, the best look is pajama pants and some form of slip-on shoe, whether it be slides or slippers. Men don’t have the luxury of being able to wear yesterday’s makeup, so they have to compensate for it with their inability to even bother with tying their shoes. For guys and girls, be sure to show off your glasses if you have them. Show the world that you didn’t have the energy to put your contacts in. Everyone will admire how little you slept and want to be you.

Be sure to take all of the opportunities you can to talk about how much work you have to do and how much of your night is going to be consumed by obligations and academics. Always study in public places. In every group you join, you’ll want to establish dominance over your group members by telling them how little you slept the night before to get through all of the things that you had to do. It will sound like you’re complaining, but they’ll see your ploy for what it really is — you are letting them know how superior you are to them. Be sure to list all of the alternative and normal forms of caffeine you consume to keep you going.

For those not convinced or not concerned with how others view them, bear in mind that the Commerce and Batten Schools, internships and even professional schools are collectively considering average hours of sleep to rate student work ethic and involvement. If you’re sleeping, you’re clearly not working hard enough! Fortune 500 companies have stated it’s one of the best things to discuss during an interview to show off your dedication. Even though college social and professional life can be hard to navigate, rest assured that the best way to let people know that you’re the real deal is to continually brag about not sleeping. Works every time. Sweet dreams. 

Heath Yancey is a Humor Columnist at The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at

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