Musician by Night, Potato by Day: 5 Ways to Be a Better Night Owl

Musician by Night, Potato by Day

Written by Kyle Estabrook

Some of us have a pretty routine life. Wake up between the hours of 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM. Open the curtains to greet the day. Stretching out your arms to get the blood flowing. Brew up a cup of joe. Perform the “Three S’s” of the morning. Get dressed, then head to whatever obligation you have to occupy your time. Most people are on their feet and ready to go by the time it’s 11:00 AM;  In fact, most people are ready for lunch by then. Me on the other hand, I tend to have quite a difficult time trying to stay awake. Usually between the hours of (for the sake of dramatic effect) 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, which is when I typically get out of classes.

That’s right, I was the guy that would fall asleep in class because he decided to stay up all night squeezing out as much productivity as possible before heading to bed, which 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM is pretty standard for a guy like me.

Now I know that most of you understand what it’s like to function on a 3 to 6-hour sleeping schedule, but here are some of the reasons why I have stayed up so late and some of the solutions I’ve come up with to help alleviate the situation, making the rest of the day a little more tolerable.

So as the title may suggest, I consider myself to be somewhat of an artist. I’ve been playing guitar for 12 years, singing for 10, and producing music for 2. The times in which I find myself being the most creative are between the hours of 8:00 PM and 2:00 AM, 2:00 AM being the time where all cognitive functions cease and what’s left of my brain resembles a starchy plant used to make delicious side dishes. During this time frame, I like to create music, edit film in adobe, work on homework assignments that involve writing, create photoshop images, organize things; basically anything that my OCD of a brain would like to accomplish.

If you identify with any of the things I’ve mentioned above, then congratulations, you’re a night owl!


Here are 5 things I have learned over the past 4 years of college that might just help you with getting your life together:

1. DON’T schedule classes that start at 8:00 AM, or DO schedule classes that start at 8:00 AM: This may seem contradictory, but just hear me out. When I was a sophomore, I thought that forcing myself to take 8:00 AM classes every day would change my whole sleeping schedule, and allow my brain to be active during the day. It didn’t, but for others, it may work. Sleeping late at night could be the result of a bad habit. Forcing your body to adapt to this change may be the push you need to get out of being a night owl. For me, creativity is most prominent during the later hours, so my suggestion would be to schedule your day based on your sleeping pattern. My classes start from 12:30 PM each day, which gives me plenty of time to wake my brain up, feel relaxed, and start the day. I would plan on going to bed before 2:00 AM (12:00AM-2:00AM), wake up between 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM, and feel relaxed and mentally prepared for the rest of the day.

2. Don’t drink caffeine past 7:00 PM: This one’s super simple. Every single one of us, and don’t you dare tell me otherwise, have drank or ate some form of caffeine. If you haven’t, then you are not human, and you are now classified as a meat-popsicle. I need caffeine from time to time because I would accidently choose to have all-nighters, which is a direct result of having terrible friends who peer pressure me into having a social life. Obviously, drinking caffeine over the weekend when you don’t have any future obligations is perfectly acceptable, however, if you do need to wake up before 10:00 AM, I don’t suggest drinking coffee after 7:00 PM. The half-life of caffeine is anywhere from 4-6 hours, which half-life apparently means the time required for any specified substance to decrease by half. I had to google that.

3. Trick your brain into being active: If you find yourself having a little bit of extra time during the day, but don’t feel very creative or active, try tricking your brain! Do something that would stimulate your brain to have similar reactions to when it would be active at night. For me, cleaning tends to do the trick. When I clean my house, I become very vigilant about all the things that need to be taken care of. When my house is completely clean, it feels like I’m starting off with a fresh new space to work in. Less clutter = less worry = so much room for activities. #stepbrothers

4. Prep for less stress: This one may take some time to get used to, but it works! The biggest problem I have when waking up is preparing for the day and not feeling stressed about the amount of time I have to get prepared. If I feel rushed and I head to school feeling this way, I’m not going to be a very happy camper. If I feel relaxed and ready, then the rest of the day is smooth sailing, or at least tolerable if you do run into a few hiccups. Simple things like preparing a set of clothes for the next day, meal prepping, and organizing all the things needed for school/work, would decrease the amount of time spent to prepare, and would allow you to spend more of it mentally preparing for the amount of time it’ll take for you to find a decent parking spot on campus.

5. Do what feels good: The last piece of advice that I have for you is to listen to your body. Nobody knows how you feel better than yourself, so know your limitations and understand what you are capable of. If it means that you can spend just a little more time working on music, then do it. If you know that you have an exam the next day and you need more sleep, then figure out a way that will help you sleep. My tip is to drink a heavy dose of tequi…. I mean… leave all of your technology out of reach when you try to sleep. Bright white screens tend to keep people up longer.

Much like how writing this blog post is doing to me. 



Author – Kyle Estabrook


Adulting 101


1. Being a responsible adult. Used by immature 20-somethings who are proud of themselves for paying a bill.


Technically, I am not “adulting” yet. But May 13th is approaching fairly quickly, and that is when I am SUPPOSED to (apparently) embark on this next chapter of my life. In order to prepare myself for this whole “adulting” thing, I asked some of my “adulting” friends to offer some advice for all those in my shoes. Here are the most important (and some hilarious) responses that I got:

ONE: “Junk food and beer make you fat”

But how do you adult without those?? Especially the beer… AMIRIGHT?!

TWO: “We’re all just pretending to know what the eff we’re doing.. no one reallyyyy knows”

OOOOH, thank god.. But can everyone stop pretending because you’re making me feel like shit?! Thanks.

THREE: “You will have to work 10 x harder than everyone around you in order to prove that you’re not just another millennial with a degree & a dream”

FOUR: “Marrying someone rich isn’t a bad idea”

I’ll never admit who said this… let’s just say she didn’t marry rich 😉

FIVE: A little disagreement among some adulters:

Adulter 1: “Don’t settle down until you know yourself”

Adulter 2: “Sort of agree but I think people focus a lot on feeling ready and I don’t think you ever have that completely ready feeling.”

OK, go with whichever one you like better. Adulter 2 is my sister sooo, I’ll go with her 😉

SIX: “Bills are real”

Some of us learned this in college, but if you didn’t. WARNING: bills are real and due every month… bummer!

SEVEN: “Having good credit is everything in adulthood”

Not really sure what this means, how to do this, or why it’s “everything” …

But one of my more “mature” adulters gave this piece of advice… so let’s make sure we have good credit people.

EIGHT: “Start saving for your 75-year-old self.”

Ok, this is boring, seems kinda lame, but I guess we’ll thank ourselves later.

NINE: Adulter 1: “Your fridge gets disgusting if you don’t wipe it down 1-2 times a                  month.”

Adulter 2 added: “Pay special attention to the veggie drawer. A lone zucchini left at the bottom can ruin your Sunday”

TEN: “Little things happen all the time and they add the f up. You can pretend you have your adult budget figured out but until you are knee deep in adulting, you have no clue how much it costs to adult.”

ELEVEN: “The dentist isn’t an option….”

I mean…. Was it ever an option? But ok, yes.. go to the dentist adults.

TWELVE: “You are going to turn 30 wayyy sooner than you think and for some reason at age 30 if you don’t have your shit figured out, you WILL go into panic mode… Be ready”

THIRTEEN: “Don’t ask too many people for their opinions. It gets too fuzzy. Trust your gut. Have two really close friends that you trust.”

FOURTEEN: “You are actually busier post college. I was excited to not juggle work and school. In reality, I had way more time for friends and hobbies when I was a student. Can’t explain why or how, but it’s true. Life only gets fuller and busier as ‘adulting’ takes over!”

Yikes….. not really what I wanted to hear. This is reality though, people.

FIFTEEN: “You can’t decide if you admire someone until you have had a peak into their whole world. If someone seems successful at work, look at their non work life. If they are living in a way you admire there too, then they are the type of person to look up to. If you spend your time admiring: Person A) because they are bad ass at their job and loaded or Person B) because they are at all of the school events and soccer games you’re going to feel like a failure in your own life you can’t do all of those things. Find people who have a work/life balance to look up to. They are the people who are truly successful.”

WOAH. Shit just got real. But some really solid advice!

SIXTEEN: “Just because you’re done with school, doesn’t mean you’re adulting”

PHEW!!!! That’s what I like to hear…. I’ll hold off on the adulting then.

Thanks to all the ADULTERS who contributed. You all are kicking ass. To those of you about to start adulting, good luck & let’s be bad ass adulters together!

Owning a Car in College: You’re Probably Not Going Places

One of my earliest memories involves a go-kart, willful neglect of clearly stated rules, and an incredibly angry woman who took life too seriously. My parents took me to a small amusement park, and I was thrilled to discover I could drive my own go-kart. I should also mention that I was, and am to this day, a competitive asshole. While riding around the track, I repeatedly rear-ended the driver in front of me, who continually yelled at me the rules that were so clearly posted on all signage: “Do not bump other cars.” I eventually passed her and crossed the finish line, wheels burning and victory swelling in my chest.

I no longer intentionally rear-end people, but Karma marked me that day and said: “Your time will come.” My time came when I purchased my first car. A 2002 Nissan Sentra with the check engine light on. That’s right. I walked into that relationship saying: “I can fix you.” Those relationships always work.

The check engine light stayed on for the next three years. I broke down on the interstate repeatedly. Sometimes I would pull the emergency brake going 80 miles an hour. Other times, my car would completely shut down, forcing me to turn the wheel as hard as I could to pull over to the side of the road. It’s worth mentioning that my arms are as strong as a couple of cooked spaghetti noodles. After every breakdown, my dad and I repaired the car, always thinking that THIS repair would be the end of that little orange glow on the dash. How naïve we were.

The car broke down for the last time during the weekend of my college graduation. I knew the catalytic converters were broken, but I didn’t have the money to replace them. My dad found the parts online, and we were prepared to take on the task of repairing the car ourselves yet again. Mechanics laughed at us. All I had to do was drive 340 miles to my dad’s garage. No biggie.

A little over half way there, my car started to overheat and refused to go faster than 20 mph. On the interstate. A tow truck took me to the nearest town, and my dad towed it the rest of the way. After working for a couple days, we finally had the old parts out, new parts in, and everything put back together. It was midnight. We were exhausted, but high-fiving and taking pictures.

This is when my dad said: “Break out the camera. We’ll want to remember this moment. We beat this thing.” Spoiler alert: We did not beat this thing.

He went to work the next day and I took the car for a test drive. I made it two miles before the engine started to overheat again. Remember that 340 mile journey? Yeah. Blew a head gasket. $2000 to fix. Did I mention that I was starting a job in less than a week? In San Francisco. 1200 miles away. We accepted defeat.

Long story short, I ended up buying a new car. I made it to San Francisco just fine, hoping that my brain would black out the last week entirely. It’s been nearly a year since then, and I have to say that I’m glad I remember every moment. Do I miss the stress crying? No. Am I thankful for a family who pulls together and helps me out during life’s shitty times? Absolutely. My dad was always right next to me, teaching me how to replace every damn part on a Nissan Sentra. Really, he taught me determination, instilled in me an appreciation for my possessions, and allowed me to see that no matter the situation, I’m going to make it out on the other side.

Most importantly, do I regret rear-ending that angry woman 18 years ago? Not even a little bit. Karma can suck it.

Love and the Obligation of Fantasy Football

Fantasy football is a way of life. Once a football fan gives in and starts playing fantasy football it will forever change their lives. Sleepless nights and restless days spent setting and resetting your lineup, looking for free agents on the waiver wire, researching stats, adding and dropping players. Oh man! What a joy it is.

This is all done while your significant other watches you pull out your hair stressing over every move made, beat yourself up for not playing the sleeper, or even celebrating a hard fought victory that means absolutely nothing to them. Do you really think fantasy football doesn’t have an effect on your relationship? I beg to differ, my friend.

I started playing fantasy football in 2011 and I have been hooked ever since. Ok… ok… hooked is an understatement. I am full blown addicted! Every year I crave the fall, not for the weather, not for the end of summer, not for the beginning of school, but the fantasy football draft! The draft marks the beginning of a hard fought, highly thought about 17 weeks of fantasy football.

That’s right 17 weeks of fantasy football,baby!! Once the draft is complete each team reviews their players, top to bottom and bottom to top. How’s my team stack up to others? Who had the best draft? Text messages sent and received, “How do you think the draft went? How’s my team looking?” If you’ve played fantasy football you know all about the excitement.

Ok, before I get too excited and continue on about fantasy football let’s talk about how amazing our significant others are for putting up with us through these 17 joyous weeks. My girlfriend and I have been together for a little over two and a half years and thankfully she supports my fantasy football addiction, but here’s some advice that I’ve learned over the last few years…


My girlfriend is a Seahawks fan and I sucker her into fantasy talks by talking about her favorite team. She is very passionate about her Hawks and will talk about them anytime. This being the main reason as to why I always make sure to draft at least 1 to 2 Hawks players. Not only does it give me brownie points, it also gives me reason to ask for fantasy advice. Fellas this works, I’m telling you it will help your girlfriend understand fantasy better and give you something to talk about other than shoes and clothes.


“Babe, babe, babe, who should I start this week, Emmanuel Sanders or Brandon Marshall?” Yeah we all do it, sometimes it’s too difficult to make the decision alone and any advice that can help lead a decision is good advice, even if they have no idea who you’re talking about. Besides, who better to ask than the one that loves you most, right?

Until they make that random guess of who to start and you end up losing your matchup that week. Ahh, the questions start to build, “Why did I side with her? Did she even know who that player is? Wait, is it her fault for me trusting her statistically incorrect advice?” Sweet babe, I may not make the playoffs now and it kind of… sort of… may be your fault! Just kidding, but really.


I wake her up every Sunday morning, not with a kiss, not with breakfast plans, but instead with a tap on the shoulder and my phone in her face asking, “Who should I start today?” (remember from advice #2, follow your gut)

Sundays in the fall are strictly football days; they are the day every fantasy player looks forward to from week to week. Sundays consist of TV, couch, game day grub, fantasy football app, and a cold beer. No chores, no errands, no brunch and no distractions. Thank you for your understanding… love you babe!


Do it and thank me in the fall!


By: Carsen Hopfauf