Students must alter schedules

Eight a.m. is not most students’ favorite time of day.

It’s painful to have class at that time because it means waking up almost before the sun. It means not being able to stay up too late the night before. It means breakfast alone.

We need as much sleep as possible during these last critical weeks of the semester, but the structure of life at USC doesn’t make it easy for students to get rest.

On weekends, residential dining halls do not open until 10 a.m. The earliest classes begin around the same time most high schools start, while most classes and meetings don’t begin until the late afternoon or evening.

The plethora of 24-hour restaurants in the USC vicinity also encourages students to pay no heed to the time of day.

With all these forces encouraging a nocturnal schedule, it is no surprise students go to sleep later and later.

This behavior, though, is more injurious than helpful, especially for students with academic ambitions, according to Harvard University.

Lower levels of anxiety and depression as well as better academic performance were found in “day scholars” versus those who studied primarily at night. A study conducted by the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard confirmed this.

Though we might think it doesn’t matter exactly when a person sleeps as long as he gets a substantial amount of sleep, evidence suggests going to sleep earlier is perhaps even more important than the number of hours of sleep, according to a study by Kyushu University professor Kiyoshi Adachi.

The problem students face, though, is applying those lessons to their lives in a collegiate atmosphere, which is almost tailored to encourage staying up and waking up late.

Given that the majority of students are not early risers (8 a.m. sections usually aren’t the most popular scheduling choices), waking up early by choice has almost become taboo.

The university can make a variety of efforts to help promote an early to bed, early to rise schedule.

By providing many night classes, the university is doing itself, and its students, no favors. What it can do, however, is make a more reasonable schedule more attainable.

The university can take simple steps in the right direction by making sure that the dining halls open earlier on weekends, and that events on McCarthy Quad don’t run past midnight, and even by providing the tools and teaching necessary to instill an urgency about getting not only the right amount of sleep, but at the right time.

Until then, students should attempt to make important changes to their sleep schedules to improve their physical and mental lives.

There are many practical reasons for adapting an earlier rising and sleeping schedule, too.

Waking up early means lines in the dining hall are shorter so less time is spent waiting and more time is spent being productive.

The benefits of an earlier schedule don’t end at eating and studying, though. Early morning schedules are already practiced by many athletes here at USC, and for good reason.

Head football coach Lane Kiffin recently changed spring practices from evenings to early in the morning, a switch he believes benefits players both on and off the field.

A morning workout leaves room for a later workout. Plus, exercise can dispel the initial sleepiness that follows many students to their first classes.

Waking up early is unusual for the average college student, but it brings positive connotations; implying organization, punctuality and commitment, to name a few. These qualities will lead to a more fruitful college career, both academically and personally.

Wake up early and start the day off by reading a good book.

Time is your most valuable resource.

Perhaps it’s best to live by the words Robin Williams famously said in Dead Poets Society: “Seize the day.”


Alan Wong is an undeclared freshman.

8 replies
  1. anon
    anon says:

    this article is worthless…. some people work and NEED night classes
    get a life
    get over yourself
    stop writing terrible articles

  2. Barry
    Barry says:

    I agree. if you need a good website to help you wake up early. try HowToGetUpEarly.
    I found a way that helps me wake up on time every morning and after few weeks I even dont use my alarm clock.
    I wake up naturally on time.

  3. Anon.
    Anon. says:

    I don’t think any of us are expecting a job after college that allows us to work only 4 hours a day…that’s a ridiculous exaggeration. Having been required to take night classes for my major without having a choice though, I will say that it does wreak havoc on my sleeping schedule, eating schedule and makes it damn near impossible to get work done when I get home. Especially when the classes run straight through dinner time and are 3 or 4 hours long.

    While I do think we can’t all decide to be lazy as student, I think most of the people with these complaints aren’t necessarily lazy…some of us are very hard-working and find it frustrating to live, work and learn in an atmosphere that doesn’t facilitate healthy sleep habits. I have doctors in one ear telling me that I really need to improve my sleeping habits, students who dont understand that concept all around me, and professors expecting me to conjure up miracles in between classes when they take up a ton of my usable working time IN class!

    I actually think what would be more important than making less things 24 hours, etc, would be holding professors to a higher standard of making class time productive, and not including attendance as a part of the grade…you either get your work done and pass the tests, quizzes and activities, or you don’t. Period.

    I’d be a lot less peeved about getting home from class at 10:30pm if I didn’t feel like I just wasted my time sitting through a 3-hour mandatory lecture that could have been taught in an hour, while I could have been doing other things at home like getting my work done, and oh, applying for one of those lovely jobs you’re referring to.

    • Anon.
      Anon. says:

      Oh and also, we are PAYING to go here…so while its important to respect our professors, I think it’s ridiculous that I should have to pay to sit through a class when I can learn the material on my own in half the time. Stop making attendance a part of the grade-we’re not kids anymore. If your lectures are worth attending, then people will show up–either because they’ll fail the test without it, or because you are a professor who is a joy to learn from and provides students with a valuable experience. If not, then step your game up–don’t start forcing students to attend a class if they’re not getting something out of it. If I want to skip, let me skip, and if there are consequences I’ll suffer them. If there aren’t consequences, well then someone needs to rethink their lesson plan.

      • well...
        well... says:

        while I do agree that classes can be annoying if the material is dry and non-applicable to life, I still think that as US college students, we have it relatively easy. I doubt if you go anywhere else in the world that the students there will be complaining about the time of their classes. It is expected to be difficult. Besides, are you so sure that it is the professors creating these time tables for class all of the time? If you’re going to spread blame, spread it to all that it is due. Yes I agree that attendance shouldn’t be mandatory, those that will go to lecture, will go to lecture. I’m not saying that students are lazy, I’m just saying that it is necessary to realize that if we are complaining about the length of the day now we’re going to have problems later. I mean people who want to be doctors getting off whenever they want to? It really isn’t all that likely that we’ll be able to dictate when we want to work. That’s all i’m saying.

  4. well...
    well... says:

    Until some brilliant physicist comes up with some means of producing more time, or stretching out the illusion that we call “morning” or “nighttime,” this is a non-issue. Sometime life means waking up early, staying up late and functioning on less hours of sleep while doing things we would prefer not to; this is the essence of growing up, the thing that so many students avoid. Do we actually think that after college out jobs are going to allow us to wake up at 10, go to work at 11, take lunch at 12 and leave at 4, before it gets dark? I mean, really…I hate to be so critical, but there are more pertinent issues to worry about and we should pick our battles with the university. Wasting our time on stupid stuff like class is too early or too late will make our later, more important request ignorable…

    • lawl
      lawl says:

      i think that this only supports what the author is saying. you say that not getting enough sleep is just part of life, part of growing up. says who? you say that because that is how our society is built? because that is what we see others doing? that’s pretty much what he is getting at when he points to ways in which usc supports this kind of sleep schedule.

      • well...
        well... says:

        Says who? Because we actually have stuff to do and these 8 am and 10 pm classes enable people to do that. What I am saying is that this article highlights the main point that USC students are spoiled. From Junior High School on I had 7 am classes and I know others had as well. Believing that the University should force its employees, like those at the dinning hall, to wake up earlier just to accommodate those who don’t want to make their own breakfast in the morning, is indicative of this spoiled attitude. If I didn’t have my 8am classes, I wouldn’t be as far as I am with my classes, since I have to work and commute back and forth to school. The schedule of classes that USC provides may irk some, but it is vital to the rest of us.

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