Last year, I had a 9:30 class every single morning of both fall and winter quarter, and I absolutely hated it. Because of the classes I wanted to take, I really didn’t have any other option. So I managed to drag myself out of the warmth and comfort of my sheets every morning, telling myself that there would come a time when I could have later classes. I suffered through the feelings of sleep deprivation, made promises to myself to go to bed earlier, broke said promises and just waited for it to be over. Well, spring quarter came, and I had a 10:30 class every morning instead, which meant that I got an extra hour of sleep every night. Suddenly, instead of robotically biking to Encina West with my drooping eyelids putting me in severe danger of crashing, I even had time to treat myself to a bowl of cereal if I so desired. I was living the life, honestly.
When fall quarter of this year rolled around, and I realized that my earliest class was at 10:30 only on Tuesdays and Thursdays with my Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 1:30 PM and my Fridays containing no classes at all, I was ecstatic, to say the least. I was so ready to make up for every minute of sleep that I missed while dealing with my early mornings last year. Surprisingly though, as we draw closer to the end of this quarter, I’m having to admit to myself that I miss my Monday-to-Friday morning classes a lot more than I ever thought I would.
Why am I not rejoicing in my ability to roll out of bed as slowly as I please for three out of five weekdays? Well, while my morning classes temporarily killed my joy, my afternoon classes — and especially my days with no classes — are temporarily killing my productivity.
I’ve started to fall into roughly the same routine for Mondays and Wednesdays. I wake up anywhere between 10:30 and 11 a.m., though usually closer to the latter. Then I shower, do my morning routine and get dressed, calmly dawdling throughout. Finally, by the time I’m done with everything, I check the clock, see that it’s close enough to noon and decide that there’s no point in actually starting to do work because I’m going to be eating lunch soon anyways. After lunch, I occasionally work — lightly — before class. Then I regret it all later as I end up staying up much later than I should have needed to as I scramble to finish all of the work that I wanted to complete that day. Fridays are even worse, as without a class to go to, I really don’t have a reason to get started on anything any earlier than I choose to.
When I had predominantly morning classes, I was forced to start my days early, giving me the kick I needed to actually work throughout the day. I was able to go to sleep at a decent hour (or at least spend my nights doing something that I wanted to do). I suppose it’s just a tradeoff between becoming a night owl or being an early bird, but personally, I’ve found that I strongly prefer finishing my days earlier rather than starting them late and having them carry on. Obviously, the simple solution would be to force myself to get up earlier on weekdays, but it’s not that easy. I mean, sure, I’m all fired up, slapping myself on the wrist as I write this article, but when I’m lying in bed on a Monday morning, truly understanding Garfield’s hatred of the day, I don’t exactly feel motivated to leap out of bed and dive into writing a paper.
While there are both positives and negatives for every class time differing by person, I feel like many people see morning classes as something to be avoided if at all possible. However, I’m not sure if I agree with that anymore. Yes, anything before 10 may be a little painful, but I think that 10:30 every day is the perfect sweet spot. Late enough to get a good night of sleep but early enough to not end up wasting half of the day. As the saying goes, the early-ish bird catches the worm.
Contact Kassidy Kelley at kckelley ‘at’ stanford.edu.