The benefits and drawbacks of 8 a.m. classes

Early classes can be frustr-eight-ing, but some people think they are gr-eight, plus ways to not be l-eight! Photo by Lauren Jindrich.

LEAH OLLIE | STAFF REPORTER | lollie@butler.edu

With a new semester back in full swing, students’ internal clocks are returning from a rusty spell over winter break​​ none more so than those with 8 a.m. classes. When building a schedule that includes ample time for classes, homework, employment, social and religious obligations, extracurricular involvement and enough wishful thinking to consider pursuing eight hours of sleep, students rarely plan for early morning classes. 

While many students are more or less forced into 8 a.m. classes because of their course requirements, some students prefer them. Early morning classes are not particularly specific to any given college and span a wide range of departments and majors in part to a variety of scheduling factors. This primarily depends on course availability and when a student schedules classes for the coming semester, as well as the demand for any given course in proportion to the amount of sections of the course being offered. 

Brynn Baker, a first-year biochemistry major, has observed an abundance of early morning classes for her science credit requirements as a STEM major. 

“I had an 8 a.m. class every day last semester and every day this semester,” Baker said. “I’ve learned that I personally like early classes to get them out of the way in my day, but that just works for me personally.”

Korah DeLeon, a first-year instrumental music education major, also participated in many 8 a.m. classes specific to her major. 

“This semester I have one 8 a.m. two days out of the week, but last semester I had an 8 a.m. every day but Friday,” DeLeon said. “I’m not a morning person, so I try to get a head start on getting ready and getting plenty of sleep the night before, then definitely getting some caffeine when I get a break after the class.”

Finding new pockets of time for rest is crucial, especially when the rhythm of one’s morning has been disturbed. Students often turn to mid-day naps or earlier bedtimes to compensate for sleep lost to early starts. Baker and DeLeon both shared that they modify their routine around early classes, recommending that students bump up their bedtime the night before class and ensure that they are properly rested for an early start. 

“I go to bed fairly early for a college student to make sure I’m not completely dead the next morning,” Baker said. “I lay all my clothes and my shoes out, so I don’t have to mess with my stuff in the morning, and I can get out the door quickly.” 

A common thread many students with 8 a.m. classes share is the consequent payoff of building healthy habits and practicing preparation on a tight schedule. Learning how and when one best learns and participates in an academic community is valuable, and serves students in a personal and professional capacity with room for further growth and improvement. 

Fayth Malone, a first-year exploratory business major, attributes her 8 a.m. classes with progressing her organizational skills. 

“I definitely learned a lot about how to stay organized, and routine became a big thing for me,” Malone said. “Having early morning classes, I have to stay on top of everything. I always kept a to-do list in my planner to make sure to stay on top of it and remember everything that needed to be done.” 

The lasting impact of improving upon one’s strengths and weaknesses through practicing healthy productivity skills is invaluable, and may be worth the early wake-up time. Overall, balance is key when one’s work-play dichotomy becomes strained. By staying mindful of one’s commitments and taking the necessary steps to ensure that they are fulfilled, students can make room for the rest and leisure they deserve. 8 a.m. classes don’t have to rule the end of fun or free time for college students, but instead pave a new way for future opportunities. 

As per my sources, here are some tips for surviving your early classes this semester.

 

  1. Stay bundled up to ease the transition between your warm bed and the brutally cold temperatures tracking for this winter. 
  2. Rest up to prepare your body and mind for active listening and learning.
  3. Caffeinate when necessary, but don’t underestimate the power of the recommended amount of water a day on your overall health and focus.
  4. Set multiple alarms to make sure you don’t oversleep. 
  5. Take advantage of this opportunity to stay on top of your schedule in a fresh way. You got this, dawgs!
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