The idea that an alarm clock could be your best friend sounds far-fetched. The everyday battle where students send off their guardian called snooze to fight off the enemy known as early mornings never seems to end. Everyone is different, there are those that prefer to hit snooze several times and others that set multiple alarms to fight these demons. But what if those demons were in fact your ally and snooze was the real enemy all along?
A study conducted by two psychology professors at St. Lawrence University in New York, showed a drop in grade point averages in students for each hour later that a class started. The study showed that for every hour a class began later, there was an average of .02 drop in a student’s GPA. This means the difference between taking a class at 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. can possibly affect a GPA by .08 points.
Some students disagree with the idea that waking up later for classes is affecting their grades.
“Morning courses are usually the most boring courses and it’s difficult to stay awake,” said Matthew Ramons, a graduate student studying health administration. “Usually students are coming in straight out of bed and the professor might show up late due to traffic.”
The study also showed a connection between alcohol use and students that preferred to take classes late to give themselves the opportunity to sleep in.
“I can understand how the party animals might prefer to have their classes later throughout the day,” said transfer student Daniel Soto. “Some of us don’t drink and we just need to start our day a little later than the rest for our brains to fully function.”
The opportunity to select and choose when you want to take your classes isn’t always available. Priority registration, seniority and specific clubs are all factors on when students get to register.
“This semester I’m taking three classes that start at 8 a.m. all because I had a late registration date and all the early noon classes were taken,” said Sarah Lopez. “I’m not looking forward to this semester to be honest.”
Other students don’t mind getting up early and look forward to the challenge. Third year student Saul Montes believes that there are positive effects to having early classes.
“During the spring 2014 semester I actually had 8 a.m. classes everyday and it wasn’t by choice, but I learned from the experience,” said Montes. “ I became very punctual with my time and it quickly became a habit to wake up early. I would also have more room for other classes and by noon I would be done, leaving me with more time to complete my assignments earlier.”
There are other factors that play a role as to why students might decide to go with later classes over morning classes. Some deal with work schedules and others with personal commitments. Despite the reasons, sometimes the choice is not up to students.
Students like Lopez continue to favor morning classes over evening classes.
“In my Monday morning classes there would always be at least three empty seats,” said Lopez. “People naturally have a hard time waking up early, especially those that commute like myself. You really have to push yourself to get to class if you’re not a morning person. It’s a struggle.”
The same sentiments were shared by kinesiology major, Adahli Tapia.
“Morning classes are really stressful,” said Tapia. “I noticed that I would space out in class more often and be very fatigued. I also noticed that I wouldn’t be interested in the class as much. I had the opposite effect with evening classes.”
For students who are limited to taking required classes in the morning a Darwinian approach can be taken and adjustments can be made.