At the beginning of the semester, I got the chance to pick out my classes. I could start my day at 11 AM and have 4 classes per day without classes on Wednesday or Friday (amazing I know), or I could have a couple classes each day starting at either 8:30 or 9 AM. If at the start of the semester you asked me why I chose the latter option, I really couldn’t have given you an answer. After all, the early morning classes didn't seem all that appealing. However, after I finished my first semester with this schedule, I finally have an answer. Waking up early for my classes every morning changed my life.
I wasn't always a fan of my schedule. By Thursday morning of the first week, I found myself struggling with waking up, getting ready, and then walking to class, let alone even being present and attentive. A lot of the time I let my laziness get the best of me, and I would skip the lectures. Then, I would be bothered by the fact that homework was hard, tests were even more difficult, and I didn’t have a strong grasp on any of the concepts we were going over. Still, I cared a lot about my academic success. However, I wasn’t setting myself up to succeed. I realized that it didn't matter whether my class was at 8 AM, 12 in the afternoon, or 7 PM. I wanted to be prepared for class and be fully attentive so that I could get the most out of my educational experience.
UMass Amherst is a huge school that always seems to be busy and bustling with people, but I grew to love the silent mornings where there weren’t too many people around. I started using my morning walk before class as a time to collect my thoughts, assess any plans for the day, and evaluate how I was feeling. This daily practice helped me clear my mind and plan out my day.
Another added benefit to getting classes out of the way early in the morning was gaining so much more time to get assignments completed, hang out with friends, or have enjoyable alone time. When I got my classes done early in the day, I often forgot I even had class in the first place, and I could then carry on with my day as I pleased. I didn’t have a complicated schedule that took up my whole day, so I could fill it with anything I needed to get done, even if that meant not doing much of anything. Not having any obligations hanging over my head made alone time much more relaxing and removed any restraints on activities I wanted to fill my day with.
Personally, and contrary to popular belief, waking up early in the morning actually gave me a lot more energy throughout the day as opposed to waking up at noon and rolling out of bed an hour later. When I got class out of the way for the day, I had a lot more time on my hands which motivated me to get more done in the day. Instead of feeling lethargic and lazy because I had nowhere to be, I felt motivated and awake early on in the day.
In the beginning of the first semester, I hated waking up for my 8:30, and I felt entitled to skipping class because of how much of a struggle waking up and walking there was. By the end of the semester, I realized how good waking up early for class made me feel, and how much it helped me have a productive lifestyle. I can’t recommend including an early class in your schedule enough, even if only for one day a week. Whether you’re a natural morning person or someone who tends to sleep through the day, those wretched 8:30 and 9 AMs could be exactly what you need to boost your self will, energy, and motivation.
All images courtesy of the HC Media Library