During my first semester of college, I basically structured my entire schedule solely around having classes that didn't start prior to ten in the morning. Of course, I tried to implement courses that I was interested in and were relevant to my desired major, but if there was a class that started at 8:00 AM, I knew that was not going to happen.
I have never been a morning person, and I truly blame my genetics. None of my siblings are morning people, and my parents only survive with a daily dose of coffee. We're all irritable until the sun has fully risen. In high school, I didn't really have the option of starting my classes later, but I took the opportunity in college and ran with it. Although it meant being stuck with evening lectures, it was worth it to me. I could do my homework until two in the morning and still get enough sleep for the next day.
Unfortunately, this was not the case when planning my second semester. As much as I tried to manipulate my schedule, I ended up with an 8:30 AM class. Not only was it early, but it was a math class, which made it much more difficult to get myself out of bed just to listen to a professor spit out variables that I didn't understand. I wish I could Google translate math into English.
After the first day of waking up at 7:30 to get ready (which didn't involve actually getting out of bed until 8:00), I realized I had to come up with a way to survive this semester despite the ungodly hour of my class. I hate coffee, so I couldn't use that as a helpful tool, but I discovered a few other methods that made the task a little easier to manage.
Wake Up to a Glass of WaterGiphy
Although water obviously doesn't have caffeine, a lot of people wake up feeling dehydrated, especially after an insufficient amount of sleep. Dehydration is known for not only negatively impacting your mood and ability to focus, but for causing fatigue. By starting my morning off with a tall glass of water, I felt reenergized and ready to face my impending doom of walking across campus before sunrise.
Plan Accordingly the Night BeforeGiphy
Now, I'm not suggesting anything drastic like going to bed early because, let's be realistic, I'm a college student and I'm going to rewatch Friends or binge on random cooking shows on Netflix until the clock strikes midnight. But, I can set up everything that I will need prior to class to make the morning a little less hectic. I leave out my outfit for the next day (which usually includes sweatpants because I'm not waking up at seven to wear jeans), pack my backpack, and organize my stuff the night before so when I inevitably snooze my alarm four times, I can just grab my stuff and go.
Find a Friend in Your ClassGiphy
Chances are, you're not going to be as alert in your morning class as you would be later in the day, which means you'll probably end up missing a few pieces of information. Even if you're attentive, your brain might not be fully aware of what the professor is saying, and the notes you took while you were half-asleep won't be much help when studying for the next quiz. Finding someone in your class to collaborate with is beneficial in all classes, but it's especially imperative for that morning lecture. Plus, then you'll have another person to share the burden of an 8:30 AM course.
Schedule a Nap SessionGiphy
If you're still in the process of forming your schedule and you know you will have to take a early class, try organizing your other classes for an optional nap time. Even if you find that you don't need it later in the semester, it could help you adjust to your new schedule at the beginning. I had an 8:30 class, but my next class wasn't until noon, giving me a solid two hours to potentially take a nap if necessary (disclaimer: it was indeed necessary).
Bring a Snack (or Five)Giphy
I know you may not feel hungry when you immediately wake up because all you can focus on is going back to bed, but it may be beneficial to pack some kind of granola bar or even a bag of pretzels. Having something in your system as fuel can encourage you when you think you're halfway through class, but only five minutes has gone by. If you're looking for a more significant source of energy, there are even granola bars that have caffeine to give you an extra boost.
Remember, It's One SemesterGiphy
Yes, waking up in the morning is not ideal for any college student, but I know it's a little tougher for us night owls who cannot be productive before eight at night. The one thing that has kept me motivated is knowing that it's only for this one semester, and next semester I can (hopefully) avoid early courses. This class is just bringing me one step closer to completing my degree. But if a requirement for my major is at 8:00 AM next semester, maybe that will make me reconsider what I really want to study.
No college student wants a morning class, but almost all of us have to face it at least once during our academic career. For those early birds out there, us night owls envy you. The early bird may catch the worm, but that does not compete with the satisfaction of a midnight snack.