• Nirvaan Nagaldinne

Bittersweet Vacation

By the time you are reading this, winter break will seem like a blip in the distant past. Especially given the suspended animation feel of our lives nowadays, every day seems like a Wednesday. Minutes have stretched to hours, which have stretched to days, then to weeks, and then to months…


I don't know about your “back to school from winter break” experience, but I’ll share mine. They say that breaks help you relax, recharge and rejuvenate, but for me, that did not happen.


My sleep schedule has been unpredictable since the “extended” summer break last year, and the short fifteen-day winter break was a slippery slope into nocturnal living. I tried sticking to my earlier reading and bedtime routine, but could one 11 p.m. movie night hurt? That led to subsequent nights of calls with cousins, friends, longer TV shows, all starting later and later each night. Eventually this all got to the point of elaborate Netflix parties starting at midnight with popcorn and snacks to fulfill my need to socialize, even if it has to be virtually.


The night before the start of school, I tried to get to bed at a reasonable time: 11 p.m. To no avail, I ended up finally falling asleep at around 2 in the morning.


At 8:32 a.m. I woke up to the blaring sounds of my alarm. I was immobilized. Every hour of sleep that I missed was an anchored weight that chained my body to the bed. I even tried to open my eyes, but my mind wouldn’t let me.


After an arduous battle between sleeping and waking, I was able to grab my phone, which had been ripping through my sleep like a foghorn for a bit of time now. And, with my eyes still closed, phone in hand, I tried hitting the snooze button. I kept poking at the screen to find anything to turn off the siren.


Finally, with the job done, I threw my phone across the room.


At this point, it was roughly 8:40 a.m. You know when you snooze an alarm, but in the middle of your sleep, you become suspicious because those few minutes feel like an eternity? You know when you go to check your timer, you have two minutes left, which puts you in such a bad mood knowing that you missed out on two full minutes of sleep? Yeah. Well, that was me.


I dragged myself out of bed, threw on a hoodie - one that probably hadn’t been washed for a week or two - sat at my desk, opened up my computer, and entered class.


Maybe it was because I hadn’t sat in my chair for a while, but that chair never felt

comfier! When my teacher asked me why I was late, I explained that I had WiFi

problems. Before you question it, yes, this excuse still works.


Somehow, I was able to remain awake for the first period. However, I was faced with the next challenge: the transition period. Seven full minutes. Perfect for a power nap or a snack. With my eating and sleeping schedule equally thrown off, I opted for the snack. However, the thought of walking the twelve steps to the kitchen and facing my parents who were bound to be there sent me to my second option, and I closed my eyes for a six-minute snooze.


When I woke up, I realized that the power nap had turned into an extended hibernation. I checked the time, only to realize that I just had a couple of minutes left until the 12:33 p.m. transition period ended. The timing was perfect, two minutes until my next class?! I guess I do have an internal clock, just off by two hours and 53 minutes!


Luckily, I just had one class left for the day. Good ol’ math. Realistically though, the only counting that I was doing was the number of days until our next break.


In all honesty, though it has been a while since our first day back from winter break, my sleep schedule is still out of sorts. I still eat at odd times. My regular evening extracurricular activities have all been deferred, which means time continues to blend together from day to night to day, broken only by the adrenaline-induced surprise tests and pop quizzes.


For now, the only thing keeping me going is the distant oasis of spring break, yet another week to throw my body’s schedule off-rhythm… or, maybe…to let it rest!