The 8 A.M. class is easily every college student’s worst nightmare: just saying it sends shivers up my spine. Unfortunately, however, most students will have at least one 8 A.M. at some point during their college careers, and if your schedule is anything like mine, you already have a lot. Instead of wincing at the sound of your alarm clock and formulating a list of all the things you’d rather do than attend an 8 A.M., here are some steps you can take to make the most of the situation.
1. Don’t procrastinate.
OK, I know (first hand) getting things done in a timely manner is easier said than done, but if you think about how you’ll have less time to sleep in or do homework or chores in the morning, you’ll be 10 times more motivated to finish all your work. If you leave all your responsibilities for the night before, you’ll get less sleep, be tired and unfocused in the morning and it will basically feel like you’re reliving high school. Since you aren’t in class for seven straight hours anymore, use your breaks in the day to get things done.
2. Pack your bag the night before.
Simple, yet effective. The night before your 8 A.M., be sure to add packing your bag to your pre-lights-out routine. It only takes a few minutes, but that few minutes will buy you a little more time to sleep or get ready in the morning. You should also keep in mind that you’ll probably be less alert in the morning, so you may risk forgetting things if you wait until then.
3. Go to bed early.
If you’ve successfully completed step one and step two, you should find that you have plenty of downtime in the evening. Use this opportunity to get some much needed sleep. Even an extra hour or two can make a huge difference. 8 A.M. may feel early no matter how much sleep you get, but going to bed at 9:30 or 10 will make it a lot easier to get up than going to bed at 12.
4. Eat a small breakfast in your room.
If you’re hungry in the morning or feel that you need some fuel in order to stay focused, don’t skip out on breakfast in order to get an extra few minutes of shut-eye. Instead of wasting time walking to the dining hall and waiting in line, keep some cereal or protein bars in your room. It’s quicker, easier and will save you precious time while filling you up enough to get you through class.
5. Get your caffeine fix.
The Keurig in your room, the cafe on campus: these types of things exist for a reason. Whether it’s coffee or tea - iced or hot - that little jolt of caffeine can go a long way at eight in the morning. Make sure to not skip that cup of coffee the day of an 8 A.M. lecture. If you consider yourself an avid coffee/tea drinker you can even think of it as a reward or motivation for getting out of bed.
6. Buddy up for the walk to class.
No, seriously. Forcing yourself to interact with another human early in the morning is a good way to wake yourself up. If you’ve already had a conversation with someone, chances are it will feel like less of a shock when the professor actually starts talking and giving directions. This is also a good opportunity to bond with your classmates and make new friends, and having someone to meet up with in a certain location at a specific time will motivate you to be ready.
7. Look on the bright side.
Sure you may groan at the thought of your friends still tucked away in bed while you’re sitting in class, but just like everything else, you could have it worse. While you may have to wake up at 6:30-7 to make it to your 8 A.M. a couple of times a week, there are high school students who have to wake up at 5:30 everyday to make it to school by 7. Also, think about how nice it will feel once your 8 A.M. is over and you have the whole rest of the day not to worry about that class. Just remember that things could always be worse.
8 A.M. classes may be miserable, but they’re hardly the end of the world, especially if you follow these steps. The key to success is finding a routine that works for you, and you’ll never go wrong by getting adequate sleep, eating breakfast, being prepared and getting that hint of caffeine flowing through your system. If you get organized and keep a positive attitude, the light at the end of the tunnel will be here before you know it.
Lead Image Credit: John Keane via Flickr Creative Commons