According to a recent study featured in the New York Times, students across the country in early morning classes are quite disadvantaged in terms of their ability to function and learn. It is reported that many students do not even show up to class, while the ones who do are often tired, inattentive and receive worse grades than their afternoon class counterparts.
‘When classes are early in the morning, it’s harder to wake up and go to class, because you are less motivated. Also, concentrating in class becomes more difficult because you’re still tired,’ said Shehryar Masood, a first-year biomedical engineering major. Of course, the hectic and competitive lifestyle of today’s youth lends its hand to this dilemma. Students often do not get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Between classes, homework, clubs, sports and other commitments, it’s actually quite astonishing that most students can manage their workload at all. The question is: What can be done to combat this problem affecting so many young people?
Most students detest the thought of rolling out of bed and walking (or even worse, driving) to school in a half-dead and zombie-like state. ‘Taking morning classes is a bad idea. I tried in the beginning of the quarter to wake up early, but I realized that I just end up falling asleep in class anyways. Now, I don’t even attend class. I just go to the lecture in the afternoon,’ said Christine Mai Nguyen, a first-year biological sciences major. Of course, there are the occasional early birds who love to wake up at seven in the morning and get right to work, like Timothy Reynolds, a third-year chemistry major. ‘I love early morning classes; they actually get me out of bed and get my day started. I get much more done when I’m up at 7 a.m. as opposed to waking up at noon.’
In spite of the occasional oddities, the overwhelming consensus is that morning classes tend to cause problems. Some individuals, such as Frida Alim, a first-year political science major, recognize the difficulty of morning classes, but still accept the situation. ‘It can be hard to concentrate, especially for a foreign language when you need to communicate. It’s difficult enough trying to focus in English, but try some advanced Spanish grammar in the morning. Somehow I prefer it that way though; it warms you up and gives you a reason to start your day early.’
Even instructors acknowledge the perplexity of this situation and can be affected themselves! ‘Since I teach an 8 o’clock class and a 2 o’clock class on the same day, I definitely notice some differences. There are fewer people blatantly asleep in their chairs in the afternoon class, my questions are met with fewer crickets in the 2 o’clock class, I seem to be funnier at 2 p.m.