Advice, Lifestyle

A guide to surviving 8 a.m. classes

If you are someone who has a class earlier than 10 a.m., I would like to send my condolences to you. I’m probably talking to every college student ever, but morning classes are a different kind of dreadful, and I’m so sorry if you’ve gone through that terrible experience.

As someone who lives on the West Coast and has been remote this entire school year, I’ve had classes as early as 6 a.m., and I am here to tell you I would really rather eat a scorpion than have to endure this for another semester.

But throughout these past few months, I’ve found there are some habits I’ve picked up that make getting through early morning classes slightly

iphone screen at 8:00 am
Students who have 8 a.m. classes should stay hydrated, turn on all their lights in the morning and find an effective alarm sound, but also know when to sleep in instead. ILLUSTRATION BY HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

better. So I thought I’d share a few tips:

Wake up and turn on all the lights

This one is painful, but it works like a charm. Of course, it would be easier if the sun were already out, but I know it’s likely still dark out during those dreary winter mornings, so you honestly have to just improvise. Expose your eyes to some light. It really wakes you up and instantly makes you more alert. This is also an extremely useful habit to get into if your 8 a.m. — or 6 a.m., in my case — requires an engaging discussion.

Drink a whole lot of water

It would be even better if you have a meal beforehand, but I pick sleep over food any day, so I totally understand if you’d rather lay in bed than go down to the cafeteria or kitchen and eat when you could be peacefully sleeping away. What I recommend is to just gulp down your water bottle. It’s refreshing and gives you something to do — even if it’s not much.

Take notes

We should honestly take notes during every class, but I totally get the need to pass out and fall back asleep. Just to avoid closing your eyes again, definitely take notes. It wakes your brain up. It makes you focus on something other than staying awake, and while the information you write down is probably not to the best of your ability, at least you’ll have something to come back to later.

Have a ringtone you just can’t say no to

For a while, my alarm was just the plain old normal default my iPhone would set for itself … boring. And very easy to press snooze to. Over the past few months, I’ve changed my ringtone from the Marvel Opening Theme to a Ghast screaming from Minecraft. They all work miraculously. Set your alarm to some sort of noise that either wakes you up instantly or draws you in so much you just have to listen to the whole sound all the way through.


I’m not a huge caffeine person, and I don’t ever drink coffee during my 6 a.m. classes because I immediately pass out right after. But if you have a ruthless day that allows for no naps, you definitely want to have a cup of coffee. I’m pretty sure most college students already do this anyway, but in case you’re in that 1% who doesn’t, go get some caffeine in your system.

And lastly, just don’t go

I don’t want to be a bad influence, but sometimes you just have to take the loss and sleep in. Maybe it’s not your day or maybe you just have absolutely no energy to get out of bed. It’s normal. Just take a break. I’ve skipped way too many 6 a.m. lectures this semester — I’m so sorry, professor — but it actually motivates me to ensure I don’t ditch another one anytime soon. It’s a weird cycle, but it works. Sometimes, you just have to admit defeat.

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