My Accidental Journey to Becoming a Morning Person

In a perfect world, I’ll never take a class that starts before 9 a.m. ever again. After my 8 a.m. last semester, I’d been seriously looking forward to sleeping until 9 every morning. Each semester prior to this one, I had at least one class begin at 8:00 or 8:20 a.m. I generally much prefer doing homework late at night to early in the morning, and my early classes had not been conducive to staying up studying. I looked forward to a slightly more restful semester.

The week before coming back to school in January, my boyfriend and I were comparing schedules. We’d been talking about scheduling our gym time together each week since last semester. We hoped that it would allow us to do something productive without missing out on chunks of time we might otherwise set aside to spend together. However, trying to find an hour that we were both free that was conducive to our dining hall, homework, and extracurricular habits was extremely difficult.

Seemingly out of favorable options, one of us suggested the unthinkable. What if we worked out in the morning? He has an 8:20 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as well as a 9:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I start over an hour later than he does each day, and the thought of getting up so early gave me pause. After some verbal deliberation, I agreed it was our best option. We agreed to meet up each morning in the lobby of Duncan Student Center at the terrifyingly early hour of 6:45 a.m. each day.

It’s been three weeks since we began our weekday morning workouts and I have a few observations. There are a few major disadvantages of the schedule. The first, of course, is waking up at 6:15 AM. In order to be functional each day, I try to be in bed by 11 PM or midnight at the very latest. As I typically do the bulk of my studying in the evening, an earlier bedtime can make it challenging to accomplish everything I want to in a given night. Another obstacle I faced, especially in the first week, was that I was getting tired much earlier than I normally do. By 8 or 9 every night I started to get drowsy, making it difficult to be productive before bed.

Despite these difficulties, there have been some very notable benefits. I have more time in the afternoons for homework and commitments since I don’t have to find time to fit a workout in. I’m finding that the schedule forces me to make productive use of my afternoons. As my body adjusts to the early mornings, I don’t get tired as early and I’ve been getting more done. Because we finish up in time for my boyfriend to make his early classes, I have time to actually eat breakfast each morning. I’ve always wanted to be able to do so but could never get in the habit of getting up early enough to make it to the dining hall. In addition to breakfast and even finishing up last minute homework assignments, the early mornings allow me to achieve another one of my goals for the semester: actually wearing half of the clothes that I own. I often find myself in jeans and t-shirts, especially in the winter, but I own plenty of clothes that I wish saw more wear. Attending class well dressed with my makeup on has been a fun and motivating confidence booster over these first weeks of the semester.

Overall, I’m a big fan of the schedule so far. The exercise has boosted my confidence and has made me feel strong and capable. I also feel more productive and like I’m making good use of my time. I have found that it is significantly easier to stay motivated to get up each morning because I have a workout partner; I expect it would be much more difficult on my own. Whatever you decide to take up this semester, a new hobby, sport, language, or gym schedule, grab a buddy and have some fun together!

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