"Never take a class before nine am, for the sake of your sanity." -Mom
But at orientation, I discovered that my mom’s attitude demonstrates only one of several different schedule personality types...
1. The Sleeper
Before orientation, I thought that this was the ideal schedule: not a single class before nine am, or even before noon, if lucky. But at orientation, I realized that every person desiring that also happened to be the type of person to stay up until four in the morning and wake up around two in the afternoon.
Although I am a night owl, I can easily adjust my schedule to fit morning classes. The Sleeper cannot, or at least prefers not to.
This schedule type for those who stay up and wake up late has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: You get to sleep in, and on the weekends you can stay up pretty late without feeling tired or stressed. Heck, it might even save you a lot of money on coffee.
Disadvantages: You would spent most of your daylight hours either asleep or in class, meaning no outdoorsy stuff. You would likely be on a completely different schedule than that of the rest of the world. And if you need other people to force you to study, then they’ll all be asleep by the time you even start your homework. Additionally, if walking around campus in the dark is not your cup of tea, you’d have to find an escort.
We all have a little Sleeper in us. But the question is not of which type you are, but rather of which type you are most.
2. The Commuter or the Explorer
These are the polar opposites of the Sleeper. The Commuter has to commute to campus every day, hates rush hour traffic and, most importantly, hates being “trapped” on campus all day. The Explorer wants as much daylight as possible to be able to explore the university or town and their many afternoon events. I first ran into these types at orientation, when I found several people who wanted nothing but morning classes so that they could spend the rest of the day in their off-campus apartment or exploring.
Advantages: By the time some of your Sleeper friends are getting up, you may already be halfway downtown or on your way to a club meeting. Though a lot of people are on night schedules in college, just as many--if not more--people in your college and town will be on the same schedule as the rest of the world. You can be on time to vote, go to a cheap matinée, get less costly movie tickets or check out campus clubs.
Disadvantages: You would have to get up early. This kind of schedule bars you from night parties, except on Fridays and Saturdays. Or, if you need a consistent sleep schedule like I do, you’d be barred from any night activities at all.
More than likely, you won’t be able to get either of these schedules. Most likely, you’ll end up with that one class that meets at seven am or that one lab that meets at five pm. Which brings me to…
3. The Well-Rounded
This schedule type occurs when you have lengthy gaps between classes. The Well-Rounded’s school day stretches from nine am to five pm with lots of breaks in between. I used to call this type “the Studier” because of its incredible working advantages. But then I realized the myriad of other uses for these breaks.
Advantages: You’d have long stretches of time before your next class. You could spend this time studying yesterday’s material--if only for 15 or 25 minutes--or you could have a short workout, lunch, nap, or something else to help you “decompress” so that you’re not as overwhelmed as those with tightly-packed schedules. The more tasks you have to do, the less daunting they seem if you’re forced to do them in small intervals. Would you rather dedicate your entire afternoon to studying, or go to class, read three pages, go to class, read three pages, go to class, go for a jog, read two pages…
Disadvantages: You would have little opportunity to do things in the afternoon, since you only have hour-long windows. Doing work between classes over a period of 9 hours would leave your evenings completely free, but you may not be able to stay up as late as you’d like, since you have class in the morning.
4. The Procrastinator
Wait for it...
Instead of being attracted to a certain time of day, the Procrastinator gravitates towards having classes on certain days of the week, namely Thursday and Friday. This is to, well, procrastinate on assignments that my take more than an hour or two to complete.
Advantages: This clears up the first two or three days of the week for mild studying, exercise, gathering more info or help from classmates or recovering from a bad weekend. In a way, freeing up the first few weekends of the week also means little homework left over for the weekend--just Friday classes and then the weekend life.
Disadvantages: With great freedom comes great responsibility. If the Procrastinator does not manage time well, then it’s pulling an all-nighter on Wednesday night before Thursday’s presentation. Think of it like this: the down side to being a Procrastinator is procrastinating.
5. The Clubber
The Clubber loves to spend time either attending club meetings or going to parties. These tend to take place later in the week, making this social butterfly the polar opposite of the Procrastinator. The Clubber squishes every class and lab into the first few days of the week to clear up later days.
Advantages: A good half of the week becomes free time, and because the Clubber has already been to most classes, it is easier to map out a study schedule.
Disadvantages: Tasks are easier when broken up into smaller parts. Dedicating two or three days entirely to class can cause fatigue throughout the entire week from an oscillating sleep schedule, overstimulation on some days and understimulation on others. But the biggest threat is not being in contact with work, professors or classmates for too long: learning is easier when done steadily over a long period of time than all at once.
6. The Net Surfer
Nowadays, plenty of schools offer classes online, with the option of “attending” class and completing assignments on an incredibly liberal schedule. The Net Surfer has several online classes with work that can be completed whenever, causing an incredible assortment of schedule possibilities and making scheduling far less complicated…if handled correctly.
Advantages: Freedom. A Net Surfer can mold a schedule to incorporate afternoon sports, uncrowded lunch hours, plenty of sleep and the night life all at once.
Disadvantages: Sadly, Net Surfers are rare, and the rest of the world runs on a different schedule. Even Net Surfers must attend live labs, office hours, study groups and clubs. The temptation to put off assignments until the middle of the night can lead to many sleepless days trying to get IRL help from professors and classmates.
Every school, student and teacher is different. Personally, I got a mix of Explorer and Well-Rounded for my first semester--varying by day of the week. Others who wanted only morning classes found out that their required Undergraduate Studies course only had one option--5-6:30 in the evening. But, if anything, having a schedule that pushes you to the limits, gets you out of your comfort zone, or denies you from partying every night, may just be the best lesson that college ever teaches you.
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