Making the best of your mornings
Sometimes, like Frodo, all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.
Unfortunately, that time is often 8 a.m.
For many college students, waking up in the morning is unpleasant. For me, it’s almost painful. However, after experiencing my first 8 a.m. classes this semester, I have found ways to ease the pain. Whether you wake up at noon or the crack of dawn, check out these ten tips for making the best of your mornings.
1. Choose classes wisely
Professors’ availability and your registration time often control your schedule. Still, try to choose your early classes wisely. Required pre-requisite at 8 a.m.? Take it. Optional elective at 8 a.m.? Save it.
2. Prepare the night before
The night before class, check the local weather. Lay out your outfit. Pack your backpack. Those 10 minutes of preparation will matter a whole lot more if you delay them till the morning.
3. Remember your REM cycles
Believe it or not, your body can’t function properly on only four hours of rest. Sleep is broken up into 90-minute intervals called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycles, and interrupting one at 7 a.m. can turn a good morning sour. Planning around those REM cycles can help you restore a healthy sleeping pattern.
4. Use your music
Waking up to a bad song can ruin a whole day. But you don’t have to be Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”. Set your phone or iPod alarm to your favorite song, or make your own ringtone for free with any song you own. This strategy works – starting my days with Led Zeppelin’s “The Rain Song” has improved them significantly.
5. Shed light on the situation
7:40 am. Tenth floor of HoJo. You need to hurry, but you considerately refrain from blasting the fluorescent ceiling light in your slumbering roommate’s face. Instead, you frantically dig for your other sock in the dark.
Whoops, there goes the bus.
To avoid this scenario, buy a flashlight. You’ll never wear mismatching socks to physics again.
6. Know thy campus
Is Dey Hall a 10-minute walk from Hinton James? (No.) Is there a bus stop behind Carroll Hall? (Yes.) How many extra minutes will it take to reach the 4th floor of Greenlaw? (Two.) These little details become essential facts when you’re contemplating whether to hit the snooze button one more time.
7. Team up
Why struggle alone? Find a friend with an early class and agree to help each other. Walk or grab a hot drink together before the day starts. Meeting a friend will motivate you to get moving and start your day with a friendly smile.
On tough mornings, sipping coffee or caffeinated tea can be a great way to perk up for class. However, use this strategy sparingly. The Mayo Clinic warns against overdosing on caffeine to prevent negative side effects.
9. Breakfast in bed class
Unless teaching a chemistry lab or voice lesson, most professors don’t mind students munching snacks in class. Nibbling on a bag of cereal, granola, or dried fruit throughout the hour can help keep you awake and alert.
Everyone complains about early classes. But even as you hit the brisk morning air at 7:45 a.m., try your best to smile. One day, you’ll remember these years as the best of your life. Even these early mornings will be precious memories of your Carolina experience. And that, as Gandalf would say, is an encouraging thought.