Your college class schedule: How to survive a morning class

You can’t avoid it any longer: it’s time to finalize your college class schedule. You must enroll in the dreaded 8 a.m. class and throw off your whole class schedule. Ugh. Whether it’s the only section available or you can’t stand the professor who teaches the 12:30 p.m. slot, you’re now committed to getting out of bed early three times a week for a morning class. But, never fear— with efficient time management and a few other tricks, even if you’re a night owl, you will survive the sunrise!

Manage your time
Making it to your morning classes on time and refreshed can be as simple as going to bed earlier, but for students who work part-time or have extracurricular evening commitments it becomes a balancing act between these and your class schedule. The trick is to avoid overbooking your schedule, particularly on nights before your early morning classes. Instead, try leaving time for rest and studying on these days, so you can find a sense of balance and not exhaust yourself.

It’s also important to schedule a consistent bedtime, even if that means missing out on social activities with friends—you can save those for the weekends. Really. Consider mandating “lights out” on weeknights, and be sure to give yourself more than enough time to drift off to sleep and to score a restless night.

Create a routine
One way to overcome the wake-up blues is to become a morning person (at least temporarily). The key to this is finding a morning routine that wakes you up and prepares you for the day. On August 9th, 2009, in Morning Classes: Tips for Success for College Students, Alison wrote “Whether it’s a hot shower, a workout, or a good breakfast, every person has his own wake-up routine.” Give yourself extra time to wake up and find yours. It will not only put you in a better mood, it will allow you to be more attentive during class.

Just as important as your morning routine, your nights should involve preparatory practices as well. As Elizabeth from CollegeCandy wrote in How to Survive That 8AM Class, “Prepare your sh*t ahead of time.” Make sure your books, notebooks, laptop, glasses, writing utensils, thermos, packed lunch, etc. are all ready to go in your backpack. Lay out the outfit and shoes you plan on wearing, plus any gear you’ll need for bad weather (umbrella, hat, etc.). Measure out the coffee grounds so all you have to do when you wake up is press the button. Little chores like these can go a long way in making an early morning a successful one.

Sleep blissfully
Strangely, the thought of getting up early in the morning often makes falling asleep much harder, which translates to a restless night and a cranky morning. The key to a deeper, more restful sleep is to prepare before you actually get into bed. Start by closing your laptop and shutting off the television at least an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Avoid snacking on anything one to two hours ahead of time and cut off your caffeine intake at least five hours before.  According to Donald R. Townsend, PHD on yoursleep.aasmnet.org; depending on how regularly you consume caffeine, it will make it harder to fall asleep and will also affect the amount of deep sleep that you enjoy.  So think twice about that iced latte at 5 p.m. or you might not be able to relax enough to fall asleep as you early as you planned.

Bring back-up
No matter how hard you try, sometimes you can’t fight being a total zombie during early classes. Luckily, there are ways to catch every detail without taking a single line of notes: an audio recorder. If you don’t have a handheld electronic recorder, most laptops nowadays have an audio recording function. Record the entire class, and you’ll feel less stressed about nodding off once or twice.

Having someone to chat with is a good way to wake you up and help get through a morning class. Ask a friend to meet up with you for coffee before class starts. This way, you’ll have good conversation and a warm cup of joe to keep you going, even if the lecture drags on.

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