Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

How to Master 8AM Classes

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

The class time (almost) everyone in college dreads: 8ams. Students, parents, and even professors dislike the early start time, but in some cases, it’s unavoidable. Not only do 8am classes require you to wake up earlier than you’d like, they also force you to take a step back and really learn how to plan out your day so that you can get everything done and still get a good night’s sleep. Here are a few tips and tricks I learned when I had to take an 8am last fall, including some strategies that I’ve adapted into my everyday life.

Wake up 30 minutes before you have to leave.

Most people aren’t the type to just hop out of bed at the sound of their first alarm (and if you are, I’m jealous). Block in some time for your mind to wake up along with your body before you get on the road. Give yourself time to brush your teeth, feed or walk your pet, and make your bed. On top of that, set your clothes out the night before. Not only does it keep you prepared, but it also feels good to wear a nice top and some pants instead of rolling out of bed and walking out of the door with the sweats you slept in. If you’re feeling even more ambitious, set your alarm an hour before you want to leave so you can run through the Starbucks drive-thru, too.

Don’t just bring water, bring a snack too.

Water is one of the best ways to wake yourself up, but your brain needs fuel to do its thing. It doesn’t have to be a huge breakfast feast, even a protein bar or an apple can go a long way. This is especially important if you’re a coffee drinker in the morning, like me. It’s not always a good idea to drink caffeine on an empty stomach. If you want to, keep a little stash of snacks in the car if you tend to forget about that kind of stuff as you’re heading out the door. Trust me, your brain and your stomach will thank you later! It’s not fun to sit in a large classroom and have your growling stomach cut through the silence.

Create a planner for your day-to-day schedule.

Do you have other things you participate in besides school? Maybe a club, sports team, or job? It’s best to set everything out in front of you in order to plan your day, week, or month accordingly. This way, you won’t fall behind and you’ll manage your time well enough to get some good sleep. Every week is different, so don’t feel pressured to plan out your entire semester during the first week of classes. Add whatever your heart desires to your planner: study time, work shifts, homework assignments, club meetings, and even meal planning! It doesn’t hurt to add anything that you think will help keep you on track.

Set a bedtime with time to relax.

Waking up for your 8am is important, but so is going to sleep at a decent time the night before. Everyone is different and requires a nightly amount of sleep unique to them. I know for me personally, I try to get around 8 hours of sleep each night. Determine how much time you need to sleep each evening and add 30 minutes to that for some time to relax before bed. Some good ways to wind down include reading a book, journaling, or watching some casual television. What’s most important is to listen to your body, so follow your body’s cues for when it’s time to hit the hay and start again tomorrow.

Taryn is a junior Biology major with minors in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and WGSS Studies. On the weekends, you can usually catch her adding recipes to her baking list while listening to her favorite albums on vinyl. She's also involved in GIVE, an international volunteer organization, and volunteering at the RSPCA. Taryn's been writing since as long as she can remember and has loved every second of it.