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Nighttime Work

March 7, 2013   

I was talking with my mother earlier today, when she asked me that ever-typical question: “what are you doing later this evening?”

“Just some work,” I responded. “But I have an exam at 7.”

“You do?! That seems far too late,” she responded.  She was utterly shocked that I could sit through a test that late at night.

I am decidedly a morning person.  Admittedly, I need a few cups of coffee to fully wake up.  But once I’ve had my share of caffeine, my mind is clear and crisp.  I am filled with the promise of a new day and eager for work.  There is practically no limit to what I can accomplish in the early morning.

But as the day drags on my thoughts become sluggish; my mind adopts the lazy pace of the afternoon.  As the sun dips below the horizon, I lose practically all focus—the rest of nature has gone to sleep, why can’t I?  I shrink before the pile of work sitting atop my desk.

I force myself to rally against fatigue, to get excited about schoolwork.  Why else am I at Hamilton, but to study?  With an infusion of enthusiasm and adrenaline – and maybe just one more cup of coffee – I attack my work.   Thus enlivened, the night becomes a whole new realm of possibilities.  I write one assignment, then another—before I know it, most of my homework is all done.

Nighttime exams, however, are an even bigger mental challenge.  They require lasting effort—hours of uninterrupted concentration.  I follow the same strategy: get ready, get excited!  In the minutes leading up to the test, I build up my adrenaline and confidence.  This is nothing, I can do this! Then, I attack the exam; before I know it, it’s over.