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During my Freshman and Sophomore years of college the definition of “early” would evolve, growing later and later each semester. Initially, I adhered to my high school schedule, leaping out of bed at 7:00 am to head to the gym and sliding back into bed by 10:30. However, the addition of roommates, distractions, and homework pushed by bedtime to 11, and then eventually midnight. Soon, I was slumping out of bed 9:00 am to head to my 10:30 class. But I never felt good, I was groggy and felt increasingly distracted and restless. I learned that the productive ease I held during my first semester of college came with the freedom that long mornings gave me. As a Junior (already???) I have re-committed to this ideology and started to wake up at 5:45 am. These mornings have not just become a productive use of my time but an empowering one. A time that I use to conquer any lingering anxieties of the upcoming day and to give myself the time to become the badass I strive to be.

It all started with a Youtube video. It was a Sunday evening, and I had just made an excessively long to-do list for the next day. To calm myself down, I started to watch videos of other people being productive. I have to admit this has become a habit to inspire myself to be productive. But I seldom commit to any of the strategies these lifestyle bloggers suggest. The tagline was, “How I Wake Up at 5:30 am Every day.” And so I clicked and I watched the Youtuber’s carefully choreographed morning routine. Gym, breakfast, meditation, all before 7:00 am. A spark flared in my chest. I peered at my cramped to do list, I looked at my phone, I looked back at the video. Then, I made the decision, 5:45 am. Let’s go. I did what many of the Youtubers suggest, place your alarm away from your bed so you had to get out of bed to turn it off. And magically it worked.

Instead of launching into a routine of meditation and exercise, I tackled my to do list, and by 7:30 realized something magical. I was a homework machine in the morning. Something about the silence of the world slowly waking up, allows me to focus. I always work on the most dreaded assignment on my to-do list, and by 7:30 it is usually done. I have written essays, read books, sent emails and written articles. But the most magical feeling about waking up this early is strutting to breakfast with the knowledge that whatever happens for the rest of the day I had already accomplished something. Waking up at 5:45 has given me the head start that I need to ease my anxiety for the day ahead. But it has also given me a little extra time, to do whatever I want.

Getting up early has allowed me to relish in the art of getting dressed. My morning routine has expanded, I have time to stretch, listen to a podcast, try on different outfits and have a leisurely breakfast. This time has re-instilled a sense of peace within in me, my morning routine is filled with different actions yet it acts as a form of meditation. After I complete my morning work, I don’t think about the day ahead, but instead focus on my outfit, or my stretches, or making my bed. These morning activities serve as the only period of time throughout my day when I am living activity in the moment. This is a relaxing alternative, to jumping out of bed and dressing in 20 minutes, only to find my head filled with the tasks that must be done that day. I feel relaxed and confident, and this feeling lasts throughout the day making me feel at ease with my work and life.

Ultimately, I decided to wake up early because I was overwhelmed with the amount of work I had to do. Ironically, the time I set to catch up on work has turned into a form of self-care. I find solace in my early mornings, and it has altered the way I handle the stressful events of the day. There is no way to do college right, but I find that sneaking in time to do the tasks that make you feel at ease will make your 4 years a little more special.

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Hanna Katherine

Conn Coll '20

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