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The Daily Tar Heel

Column: An ode to morning classes

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Students study on Polk Place on Feb. 24, 2023.

One of the most common pieces of advice that people gave me (often unsolicitedly) before starting my first semester of college was to not sign up for any morning classes. They told me that I wasn’t in high school anymore, so I had the freedom to choose my own schedule, and God forbid I would have to be out of bed before the clock said “p.m.” 

Like any naive soon-to-be college first-year, I took other people’s advice to heart. I meticulously planned my schedule so that none of my classes would start before 11 a.m. Only the backups to my backup classes were morning classes, and I was confident that I wouldn’t need to use them. Because class registration was going to be a breeze for me, right? Right?? 

Wrong. 

My class registration window came and went, leaving me shattered on the kitchen table with 11 credits and a newfound distrust of ConnectCarolina. As I scurried to find classes to fill out my schedule, I came to the disheartening realization that my schedule for this semester would, in fact, include morning classes. 

I was resigned to my bad fate. However, once classes started in August, I found that morning classes weren’t so bad after all. I kept waiting for the pin to drop; waiting for the day that waking up before 8 a.m. became unbearable. That day never came. Instead, I found that I disliked the rare days that I didn’t have morning classes. 

Morning classes force me to start the day productively. If I didn’t have the external motivation of grades and attendance, I probably wouldn’t want to start to get things done until the afternoon. Then, my schoolwork would inevitably get pushed back by lunchtime, followed by nap time, then socializing time and dinner. Suddenly it’s 7 p.m. and my cursor is blinking expectantly at me from an empty Google Doc that I swore I would fill with my essay draft. With morning classes, I feel more motivated to start working on my schoolwork earlier in the day. 

I also enjoy the freedom that morning classes give me. That may sound counterintuitive because they take away the ability to laze around in the morning in favor of a more rigid schedule. However, I find that getting classes over with early gives me the freedom to structure the rest of my day in any way I please without upcoming classes looming over my head. 

Morning classes also fit within my body’s natural rhythm. I tend to be a bit of an early bird, so I would probably be awake at 8 a.m. anyway. If I’m going to be awake, I figure I might as well go to class. 

I understand that not everyone agrees with morning class supremacy. Some people’s circadian rhythms cause them to go to bed late and wake up later. Early classes are not the best option for these people. And that’s just fine. 

The message that I’m really trying to get across is to not discount morning classes just because other people tell you they’re a bad idea. As I reflect on this past semester, I realize my morning classes are one of the best things that could've happened for me and my academics.

I encourage everyone to try out a morning class, even if it doesn’t end up working out for you. It’s important to try out different things to figure out what works for you, instead of focusing too much on others’ well-intentioned, but sometimes misguided, advice. 

@brigitlpierce

@dthopinion | opinion@dailytarheel.com

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