Avoid assumption that yawns indicate boredom

Yawning is one of the most annoying bodily functions, following sneezing and hiccuping. A numerous number of studies have been done to figure out why we yawn. I looked at a lot of them before writing this and ended up yawning my head off the whole time. You are probably doing the same right now just from reading this, and that’s not to say my writing is dull.

From a variety of articles, I took away that my propensity to “catch” other people’s yawns could mean that I’m an empathetic person and probably not a psychopath. The jury is still out on that one.

All science aside, here is my plea to coworkers, professors and basically every person I interact with: please don’t assume that I am bored. For the first time in my college career, I am genuinely interested in the subject matter of all of my classes. It took seven semesters, but I have finally arrived. I am only taking two classes because they are specifically required. The rest I am just taking for fun (and to fulfill graduating hour requirements).

That said, I am also exhausted. Editor-in-chief is a full-time commitment, as are many positions at the Lariat. Lately, I have been getting home around midnight and starting on homework. Students across campus can relate, whether they are athletes, attending All-University Sing practice, working off-campus or aiming for that elusive 4.0. College is an extremely busy time in life, and I’m willing to bet that well over half of us are not getting the recommended amount of sleep.

That is why I was sitting in my history class yawning so much that it was actually inefficient to close my mouth. This was made even more awkward by the fact that I am one of 10 students in the class, and we often sit in a circle. I felt so rude, but I couldn’t help it. I tried the classic “jaw-clenched yawn.” I’m pretty sure the attempt to yawn with my mouth closed just made me look angry, possibly deranged.

Add to the equation that my eyes water immensely when I yawn and you should picture a full-blown lunatic. So there I am in history class, clenched teeth and weeping. What you can’t see is that my body is annoyingly attempting to shock my brain back into a state of mental focus and my tears are basal tears, which serve to coat and moisturize my eyes. My body is working for me, but I look bored. When I try to cover yawns up, I look crazy. So what is the solution?

The solution is to let freedom reign. Yawn whenever you have to, unabashed. If you see someone yawning, give them the benefit of the doubt that they are just tired. You might be boring, but they might be on the verge of passing out from sleep deprivation. There is no way of knowing.

Maleesa Johnson is a senior journalism major from Round Rock. She is editor-in-chief of the Lariat.