3 Myths of Aeronautical University Life – Part 1

ERAU Ramp (1)Many prospective and current university students, including those who attend an aeronautical university, believe one, two, or all three of the following myths. These myths, while they are quite common, have a large impact on aeronautical students and their careers. In this three-part series you will find out what each myth is and how it directly impacts the students in this field.
Part 1 discusses one of the most common and underestimated behaviors of university students, and the reasons it should be avoided.

Myth #1 – “If I sleep less I’ll get more done.”

Most of the world lives by this statement. It’s half of the reason why coffee companies exist, and why there are slogans like “America runs on Dunkin” Our fast-paced, post-industrial world asks us to deliver, and do it now. Living from deadline to deadline requires us to cram as much as possible into our day. University students live in this same world of high expectations and jam-packed schedules and tight deadlines.

The most common solution for a too-full schedule is to decrease the number of sleeping hours by either staying up late or getting up early. College students are notorious for staying up late to finish assignments or study for exams, or even go to that party they say will help them unwind. The case for most students who share in this behavior is that they have heard and generally agree that they should get adequate sleep, however their behavior shows that they believe there is still more benefits to sleeping less. While they are surviving they are not thriving.

This is backed up by many studies that say that sleep deprivation is becoming more common place in our society and believe it is leading to some negative consequences. These consequences include, but are not limited to decreased memory function, impaired decision making, and delayed response all of which are crucial to flying. This is why it is a well known safety issue, especially for those students who are studying to become pilots.

The cognitive functions necessary for flying are the ones most effected by sleep deprivation, yet according to US News citing a study from the National Sleep Foundation, pilots are  often the most sleep deprived of all professionals. There are several cases where the death of hundreds of people as well as large delays from pilots overshooting their destination were caused by sleep deprivation. If it’s not good later in a pilot’s career, it’s cannot be good while they are training for that career.

Solutions

The goal for the average adult is to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night.  Finding a way to get adequate sleep means creating a schedule that allows for this, and really comes down to priorities. What is really important to your life goals? You may find that you have to say “no” to some things if they don’t fit in the big picture of helping you get closer to where you want to be. This isn’t always easy, but is very valuable in the long run. Are there extracurricular activities that you may need to cancel or reschedule? Is there a way to make your work schedule more flexible? If you have less to do, you can make sure you get enough sleep.

If it’s not possible to cut anything out of your schedule, try to find creative ways to sneak sleep in. Nap in your car on lunch break. Go back to your dorm to sleep between classes. Try to add just one more hour to your night’s sleep. This may not be the most beneficial, but it may give you that boost you need to conquer book work, classes, and flight training.

Conclusion

While it may not always be possible to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, it is important to try to make getting enough sleep a priority, especially if you are studying to be a pilot. You will recall information more quickly, make better decisions, and respond faster. Your focus will increase and so will your overall performance.

Stay tuned for Myth #2. If you are looking for a job in your field after graduation this one is for you. Also, head on over and “like” us on Facebook where you will find relevant aviation and flight simulation news, as well as company updates.

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