Why Should You Consider Early Morning Classes

9 mins read
September 7, 2018 on the campus of Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA. (Photo by Emma Ricci-De Lucca ’21)

Have you found that if one course has two sections with the same professor, the earlier section has fewer people? Such a phenomenon is widespread around Swarthmore, and sometimes changing the section can help you get your favorite course instead of being lotteried out. I recommend early morning classes to Swatties because they have many benefits. You can enjoy smaller class sizes and better connections with your professor. Taking early morning classes is never easy, because you need to fight against your desire to stay in bed, and that’s why you can also prove your determination and your love for academics through taking early morning classes.

As not many Swatties like early norming classes, the classroom is less crowded. I would guess many of you chose Swarthmore because it has smaller class sizes, right? Because not many Swatties like early morning classes, there’ll be fewer students, which you should like. The best part of smaller class size is that students get to know each other easier. You don’t need to undertake great efforts to learn your classmates’ names. It also means that professor can get to know you better, and thus you can have better connections to professors. What’s more, a smaller class size usually means you have more chances to deliver your opinions on class.

Some of the best courses are only offered in early morning. As a result, if you miss them because of their time, you’d probably regret it. I’ve seen some of my friends deliberately avoiding early morning classes. By doing so, they are missing an opportunity to explore different subjects. Getting up early for these courses are easier than you think, because these courses are exciting enough to wake you up. At least this works for me. I can’t stop imagining the topic and wondering how the professor will introduce it to us before my favorite classes, and such energy can sometimes defeat drowsiness, making early morning courses more accessible.

Sharples is extremely busy during lunch hours, and sometimes you can eat lunch earlier by taking earlier sections of some courses. For example, if you are enrolled in the 9:55 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. section, then you can go for lunch at 11:10 a.m. Sharples is generally not busy at this time, and you don’t have to wait for a long time before getting food. But if you are taking the 11:20 a.m. – 12:35 p.m. section, then you must go to Sharples after 12:35 p.m. Many of your fellow Swatties also finish their class meetings at that time, and they are all hungry. So you can expect long queues at Sharples. Because Sharples don’t offer lunch after 1:30 p.m., you cannot avoid this by eating lunch later in the day. If you don’t want to waste life on queues, probably you should consider ending your morning classes earlier and enjoy a less crowded Sharples.

Of course, early morning classes are not for everyone.

If you love parties, then early morning classes are not the best fit for you. You must get up early for early morning classes, especially for those classes beginning at 8:30 a.m. So, if you stayed up late last night for parties, then you would be extremely sleepy at early morning classes. And you will be less concentrated. You’ll have a hard time learning anything from professors, and you’ll also find a hard time to think creatively. Furthermore, most homework is due in class, and an early morning class means you have to finish all homework on the previous day. If you can’t finish your homework before your late night party, then catching the deadline after the party will be painful for you.

Those who are not strict with themselves should also be careful about enrolling early morning classes. Suppose on a freezing winter morning you’re reluctant to get out of  bed. If you are strict with yourself, you’ll probably try your best to get up so that you will not miss the class. However, if you are not so strict with yourself, then it’s likely that you won’t get up, and you’ll be late for the class or even miss the whole class meeting. If you choose to begin your day later, then getting up will be easier for you.

Taking courses offered in the early morning can be extremely challenging, and such a challenge reflects the difficulty of balancing academics, social life, and sleep. One popular myth is that you can pick only two among academics, social life, and good sleep. At Swarthmore, sometimes you can only pick just one. Early morning classes will shorten your sleep time, but sometimes they can provide a better academic experience. Also, if you keep sleeping early to prepare for early morning classes better, then it’s likely that you’ll miss late-night social life. It is more complicated when you need to consider some additional academic costs of taking early morning courses. Many of Swarthmore’s student organizations are academic, and you can learn many things from these student organizations. However, because of a variety of reasons, these organizations usually hold meetings in late night. Therefore, if you are giving up late night group meetings for early morning courses, then you should also consider the academic cost. Also, some classes like the lab portion of some Astronomy courses, can only be scheduled in late night. If you are taking Astronomy as well as some other early morning courses, then you’ll find such a schedule is especially challenging. You need to compare the advantages and disadvantages of different strategies and make reasoned decisions.

I still remember the time when I was filling the housing questionnaire. I was astonished when I learned that going to bed at 11 p.m.-12 a.m. was “early.” This was drastically different from my daily routine in my high school, when I took beginning the day at 6:45 a.m. and ending the day at 10:00 p.m. for granted. However, everything was so different in college, and I had to admit that the beginning of a day can be 9:00 a.m. and the end can be 1:00 a.m. But I still prefer going to bed early and getting up early, and that’s why I never discriminate against early morning courses and recommend you to consider early morning courses here. I’m proud of Swarthmore’s academic atmosphere, and I don’t believe late night parties are the center of life at Swarthmore. If you share the same attitude, then it’s probably better to take most engaging courses instead of taking courses that will make the study life here easier.

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