Professor in McBryde

Professor Scott Geller teaches his psychology class in McBryde 100 at 11:15am on Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

Not many students voluntarily sign up for an 8 a.m. class. In reality, nobody wants to do it — unless you’re a morning person and love getting up at the literal crack of dawn. Despite this, sometimes enrolling in an 8 a.m. class is unavoidable. I personally have had the privilege of taking not one, but four 8 a.m. classes so far in my college career.

In situations where 8 a.m. classes are absolutely inescapable, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you survive the outright worst part of many Hokies’ college experience.

First of all, the most essential part of having an 8 a.m. class is to actually show up to class well-rested. It is absolutely crucial to get an adequate amount of sleep as a college student. Do not stay up watching Netflix the night before (even though it is tempting)!

Additionally, getting ready in the morning is a hassle, so it’s important to have a quick and efficient morning routine. There is no need to exert a lot of effort into getting ready; just dress comfortably — you probably don’t need to bother with a full face of makeup.

Quick and simple breakfasts are the way to go; pop in a toaster waffle or make a smoothie the night before for an easy breakfast. In addition, eating too much for breakfast actually causes more sleepiness since the nervous system goes into “rest and digest” mode. Caffeine, in any form, also helps you stay up and focused throughout class, so be sure to grab that coffee on your way out.

Another important aspect of surviving an 8 a.m. is being able to pay attention and stay focused throughout the class. One way to do this is by sitting in the front of the room because there is a less likely chance of getting distracted. Being within such close vicinity of the professor not only allows you to see the board more clearly, but also makes it less likely for your mind to trail elsewhere.

In addition, note-taking is a pretty important skill; however, not everyone is fully awake and functioning at 8 in the morning. One way to get all essential information you need from a lecture is by recording the presentation on your phone and then listening to it later that day. By going back and listening to the information, you are reiterating what you learned in class a second time and filling in anything that you may have missed.

Another way to better learn information is by taking handwritten notes. Research has shown that people absorb information better by writing it out. If you have a textbook, it is a good idea to read through the textbook and add any additional information to the notes you took in class.

For classes like calculus and organic chemistry, it is beneficial to keep up with the coursework by completing practice problems after class. For other courses, ranging from business to English and music, diagrams and visual notes play an important role in the class material, so be sure to include those detailed visuals in your notes if you can.

Of course, the most important tip to being successful in an 8 a.m. class is actually showing up to class. It sounds like a no-brainer, but the idea of staying home and sleeping is so much more appealing than attending an early-morning class. Not going to class will not only force you to fall behind, but will also create even more work to do outside of class, which is even worse than getting up at 8 a.m. in the first place!

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