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The Best Ways to Stay Awake For Online Classes

It has been over two weeks since Boston University transitioned into distance learning via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the University has tried to make it a seamless transition, a big issue that the University hasn’t been able to fix is that of differing time zones. 

With such a diverse student body both in terms of ethnicity and geographical location, Boston University houses students from around the world. Due to the immediate evacuation of campus starting March 22, students now have to adjust their clocks to join their classes according to the Eastern Standard Time. 

Some students have classes in the middle of the night, while others now have classes at the crack of dawn. Thus, it is safe to say there are still some kinks of distance learning to work out. In the meantime, it is important to come up with some tricks to stay awake and alert during your classes. 

Here are a few that I have come up with! 


Wake up 15 minutes before class to have some caffeine.

Wake up even earlier? I know, I know. As someone who now has a 6:30 am class, this has not been an easy transition. However, waking up early to make a quick cup of coffee or tea will help you stay awake in class because of its caffeine content! Think of it as an early morning pick-me-up!

Take a quick shower before class starts.

For some people, a morning/late night shower can wake you up very quickly and naturally. It might take a little more time, but it is still better than falling asleep during an exam in your early morning/late night class and will make you feel squeaky clean.

Leave your bedroom and go to a different study space.

This one seems to be a preferred method among most groups. A lot of distance learners have been saying that creating separate spaces for work and leisure within the confines of their home has allowed them to stay more attentive during class. I have tried this for homework and it works just as well!

Eat a little snack while in class!

It is pretty hard to fall asleep when you are eating. So, I recommend pulling out a little late night/early morning snack to eat while you’re in class. As long as you’re on mute, you can crinkle to your heart’s content and learn at the same time.

Make your bed and set up your “class” space before starting.

If you take classes in your room and you don’t do this, you’re kidding yourself. In my opinion, this is the most effective method for staying away. By redoing your bed and organizing yourself (i.e., making yourself slightly less comfortable), you are setting yourself up for success. The main way to fall asleep is by being comfortable, so if you set your bed and workspace, you should be a little less comfortable, which means you’re more likely to be awake!

None of these methods are perfect, and I wish there were a solution to all these different time zones. Distance learning has been a hard transition for everyone, myself included, but just remember: you’re doing it for the right reasons. Try some of these tricks and see if they work for you.

To everyone out there who is in a different time zone, hang in there! You’re doing great!


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I'm Kirthana Iyer, and I go by Kir as well! I am super fascinated by investigative reporting but I also have a soft spot for a simple listicle. At Boston University, I am a Journalism major with a concentration in International Relations. Since high school, I have had a passion for writing whether it be an argumentative essay or an article on the next Senior class event, so I wanted to find a way to do that in college. HerCampus provides me with that outlet. I am able to write about issues that an everyday teen deals with to pieces about our current political climate.