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Should You Take Early Morning Classes In College? Here Are The Pros And Cons

You snooze, you ... win?

When course registration time rolls around, every college student shares the same gruesome fear: Getting stuck with a 9 a.m. class. (Or 8 or whatever ungodly early time your school begins classes.) It's a little bit odd, actually. The same freshmen complaining about their 9 a.m. seminars were rolling into their high school homeroom at 7:45 a.m. less than a year ago.

Something about university warps time so that anything before 11 a.m. feels like death. But even though 9 a.m. classes may feel like the worst, there are upsides. Let's examine how early classes aren't (and are!) as bad as you think:

  • Pro: You get done with class early

    When you finish your classes first thing in the morning, you have all afternoon to chill on your couch watching Netflix, go to the gym, grab lunch with friends ... you get the idea. This way, you aren't wasting the sunniest hours of the day stuck inside a lecture hall.

    BUT: There's an obvious tradeoff here. Instead of sleeping in, you're going to class. It's great to have your afternoon free, sure, but sacrificing your beauty sleep is rough if you're also staying up until the wee hours of the morn.

  • Pro: Your class will be smaller

    Students generally avoid taking early classes -- and of those who do, many of them skip the class altogether -- so you'll likely have a much smaller class than you would if you took the same course later in the day. This means more face time with the professor, which is always beneficial in case you need to ask questions or request an exam re-grade later on. That prof will remember you AND remember that you dutifully showed up every day at 9 a.m. Score!

    BUT: This benefit could actually be a disadvantage if your 9 a.m. is already a super-small seminar. If you're one of only a handful of students in attendance, you'll be expected to participate, which is basically the equivalent of torture when you're horribly sleep-deprived.

  • Pro: No one will distract you from learning

    No one is up yet. This means no one is texting you or messaging you on Facebook. The kids who like to talk all through lecture are probably taking the afternoon session of the same class. There's absolutely nothing to distract you from what the professor's saying.

    BUT: Without any distractions, you can focus on learning, yeah ... or more likely just fall asleep on your laptop. It happens to the best of us.

  • Pro: You get to experience a peaceful campus

    There's something calming about walking through your favorite campus when no one is around. You won't need to elbow your way through crowds of rushing students to get to your next class. You get some much-needed peace and quiet, a rarity on college campuses.

    BUT: You won't run into your friends like you would during later hours. This means no impromptu gossipfests or quick frisbee games on the lawn in between classes. #FOMO

  • Pro: Because it's so quiet, you can actually get some work done

    Yay, productivity!

    BUT: For every super-productive morning you have, you'll have one where you sit with your books open in front of you -- but you can't process a single word you're reading because you're so tired.

  • Pro: It's OK if you're a little late

    Or at least it's more forgivable if you're late. Professors know 9 a.m. is early by college standards. Every student at some point in the semester is gonna roll in a few minutes late, so you can totally get away with it.

    BUT: It's one thing to be late here or there, but if you're late every day to your 9 a.m., your professor will start to be less forgiving.

  • Pro: You're awake in time to get a real breakfast

    Nom nom nom. Whether you're cooking it yourself (yeah right) or finally getting to stop by your campus cafe before they cut off breakfast foods, you can start off your morning the right way -- with a cup of coffee and a nutritionally balanced meal (or at least something that isn't cereal).

    BUT: The freshman 15 is a thing. Proceed with caution.

  • Pro: They're perfect if you're an early bird to begin with

    Maybe waking up early is NBD to you. Maybe the sound of your alarm clock doesn't make you hate everything in the world. Maybe you wake up at 6 a.m. every day to go for a run. Maybe you actually WANT to fill your schedule up with the earliest classes possible. You go, girl! More power to ya.

    BUT: Work schedules in college are totally different than in the outside world. It's not unusual to have a club meeting, an exam review session or a tutoring session at 11 p.m., because that's the only time when everyone involved is free to get together. This means pretty much every college student HAS to stay up late even if they don't want to. Your only choice is to adjust your sleep schedule accordingly to the night-owl culture.

  • Pro: The transition to the real world will feel easier

    When graduation hits you hard and it's time for a grown-up job, you'll likely need to be at work first thing in the morning -- aka 9 a.m. If you haven't woken up before noon for the last four years, that transition is gonna be rough.

    BUT: On the flip side, maybe you should get all the sleep you can now while afternoon naps are still a thing you can take advantage of. That glorious luxury doesn't last long -- savor it.