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In college, 8 a.m. classes are basically a rite of passage for graduation. Nearly everyone I know has had at least one of these during their four years in undergrad. No matter how much you hate waking up early, you shouldn’t have to suffer through an entire semester! There are lots of ways that you can modify your morning and night routine to make your 8 a.m. lecture slightly bearable.

Wake up an hour before class

You probably immediately disagreed with that sentence, but hear me out—waking up earlier before class gives you time to establish a morning routine. If you wake up at 7:50, you won’t have any time to yourself before rushing off to class. For me, that’s honestly worse than feeling tired in a lecture hall—I hate the feeling that I don’t have any time to let myself slowly wake up and take in my surroundings. Doing a skincare or makeup routine, making your bed, or even taking a short walk are all great ways to give your brain time to adjust before your 8 a.m. Journaling for a few minutes is another method to get your brain working. It’s calming, improves focus, and gives you time alone with your thoughts. 

Have a snack before class

If I’m being completely honest, I usually skip this step because I end up spending too much time in the shower, but I’m always sorry that I did. It’s much harder to listen to a professor when you can’t stop thinking about the bagel that you’re grabbing after class. KIND Bars are a great snack to have because they’re super quick and tasty, and they’re non-perishable. If you have a fridge, stock up on your favorite fruits. In my opinion, strawberries or raspberries are the best snacks to have at the start of your day. Plus, it’s fun to start your day with something sweet! 

Set yourself up for success the night before

I’ve learned the hard way that I will not remember everything I need for class at 7:30 in the morning. More than once, I’ve had to sprint back to my dorm at 7:55 for an assignment due in five minutes. You’ll save yourself more time in the morning if you prep your bag the night before. Taking 10 extra minutes to make sure you have all your folders, notebooks, and tech in your backpack can make such a big difference. 

Good luck in class!

Hopefully, these morning self-care tips will make your semester less exhausting mentally and physically. If you’re a freshman like me who is still struggling with the transition to college (I can’t stop thinking about bubble baths or the Squishmallows I left at home), I hope these strategies help you create mindful time breaks for yourself during the morning. Classes and meetings can make the day zoom by, so it’s important to have a moment of peace before you take on all of your tasks.

Catherine Kirk

Bryn Mawr '26

Hello! My name is Catie (she/her) and I'm a freshman at Bryn Mawr. I'm undecided but considering a major in biophysics and a minor in journalism. In my free time I love to read fiction and poetry, play guitar, go for a run, and explore new places and restaurants with my friends!