Are you going to take 8am classes? Do you want to figure out my secrets on surviving these dark o’clock classes? Read on!
You’re probably tired of hearing this one, but sleep is your friend. I’ve grown up a lot this year, from a nap-hating child to a young woman who sleeps 8 hours a night and tries to nap as often as possible. I still have no clue why elementary schools have nap time when the students don’t want it, but higher education doesn’t when the students need it. There are numerous findings of the benefits of sleep.
So how much sleep should you get? Turns out, it kinda depends. Currently, I operate the best sleeping for 8 hours a night. However, there have been times in my life where I’ve needed 12 hours of sleep a night or could function normally with only 5 or 6 hours.
I suggest getting into a routine before you start trying to be productive with your switched sleep schedule. It can take a while for your body to adjust to a new schedule. A great app I want to recommend for this is sleep cycle. This is a great (and free) app that you can install on your mobile phone, and it will wake you up when you are in your lightest sleep stage, helping you feel more refreshed when getting up in the morning.
If you are anything like me, water is really hard to consume on its own. I have never been great at drinking lots of water. Over the summer, I went a few weeks where I was drinking 40-60oz of water a day, and I felt great. But that quickly faded, and most days I’m lucky if I get 8oz of water. Like sleep, water has numerous benefits to your body. Humans are made of a high percentage of water, so it makes sense that regenerating that would make us feel better.
Okay. So we all know the benefits of drinking water. But how can you start drinking more water in a day without feeling like it’s a chore? Well, here are some tips. First: put a water bottle next to your bed. I am currently using this stainless steel water bottle from Amazon.
When I got this off Amazon, I was a bit shocked at the size. There is a smaller one, but if you are planning on putting this next to your bed at night, I would get the larger one. I only have to refill my water bottle a few times a week, and I love that it’s stainless steel because it keeps my water cold all night long, and sometimes even for multiple days.
The next tip I have for drinking more water is if you are at a restaurant, or the meal hall, get water instead of a soda or other soft drink. It may not taste as good, but you will hardly notice it if you have some good tasting food to go along with it. Maybe try getting a friend to do this with you! It’ll make it more fun for the both of you.
- Eating Balanced Meals
Speaking of eating good tasting food, another important thing is balanced meals. I know, I know, you hear this all the time. ‘Eat your vegetables!’ ‘You can’t have pancakes for dinner’ (spoiler alert – you totally can) ‘You need more X in your diet’. Now you don’t have to take this overboard. I haven’t met anyone who has the perfectly proportioned meal with all the nutrition groups for every meal. In fact, I’d be kind of scared to meet someone like that.
A large part of eating a balanced meal is listening to your body but also making some compromises. Yes, we have dessert set out every day for lunch and dinner at the meal hall, but that doesn’t mean I should get desert just to get desert. If there’s something I really want, sure, I can put it on my plate. However, this goes the other way too. When your body tells you that it really wants broccoli (and believe me, it will happen), you should honor your body and get yourself some nutritional green vegetables. It’ll be easier to focus in those 8am classes, and you may even get better grades too!
P.S. Speaking of 8am classes and food, do not skip breakfast. I’ve learned from overhearing conversations that people in college frequently skip breakfast, especially in lieu of an early morning class. Do not do this. You don’t have to have a full English breakfast every morning, just something to keep you going and to tell your body ‘hey. It’s time to focus now.’ Grab a snack bar out of the fridge, or stop by the meal hall for 20 seconds to grab a banana.
- Use Colored Pens
Just hear me out on this one. I’m not talking about those big Crayola markers you probably used at summer camp; the ones that stained your fingers purple for the day. I’m talking about either gel pens, such as these Uni-Ball Retractable Gel Pens, or (my favorite) Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens, or even colored pencils (just make sure to have a good sharpener). I am currently in the process of refining my color use to actually mean something, but if you looked at my notes from the beginning of the semester, it was a rainbow. Yes, it may be a bit overwhelming to look at now, but it really helped keep my mind focused when it was still dark outside and I could feel my bed calling me.
However: a word of caution. Do not mistake this technique for not going back over your notes and studying. As you find time, you may want to customize this method for you to achieve maximum studying power.
- Professors are Human Too
Yes, you may not think of your teacher being anyone other than your teacher – their lives secret from you except when they are standing at the front of the class. But professors are human too! I can guarantee you that they know what it was like to get up at the crack of dawn to attend class. After all, they had to grow up and attend college too. Just think, now they have to get up and teach at 8am! After all, not everybody is a morning person. While they may not be willing to go easy on you, they’ll probably work harder to make it easier to stay awake in class.
- Okay, okay. I’ve done all that. What now?
Really, surviving 8am classes has to come down to your own motivation. Get excited about class! I’m grateful that my 8am class is biology, one of my favorite classes. But if your class isn’t your favorite, try to find a way to make it fun! Pretend you’re a secret agent who has to go to math class in order to pull off really tricky stunts. Find some way to relate the subject to what you’re excited about. This will make the early mornings easier, and might even make the class more fun! And try changing your alarm clock to an upbeat song – it’ll get you moving and give you that extra spring in your step to tackle the day.
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Leave a comment down below telling me how you survive 8am classes.