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1a classes and 1/2c classes: a comparison

I am not a morning person. Ask any of my friends and they will confirm: I am usually late to breakfast (typically by 2-3 minutes, but still), I have perfected the art of making it to breakfast before it closes (as long as I’m out of bed by 9:51) and I’m still not certain what convinces people to go to the pre-brunch breakfast that LDC offers on Saturdays (if anyone can explain this to me, I’m genuinely curious). 

And so, whenever the subject of morning classes comes up, of course I am usually the one defending them. I realize this is controversial. I would also like to admit that my opinion on this subject has changed. 

To clarify, this article is not a defense of pre-9 a.m. classes. Not because I don’t feel the need to defend them, which I do, but only because there isn’t enough space in the Bald Spot for this. I will summarize my argument in a few sentences, but if you find yourself unconvinced, please reach out to me — I am always happy to discuss early morning classes, and I am certain that I can convince just about anyone. (I definitely can’t. I will try anyway.)

In summary: would the time I am spending in class be time spent in an enjoyable or productive way if I weren’t in class? No.

My evidence:

  1. I would not get up early to do homework

My homework needs to get done at some point, of course, and based on past experiences, I am certain it will not be done during the late afternoon. This leaves the evenings (often filled with club meetings and other random things) or nights left to do homework. However, the time after early classes, either before or after lunch, is an excellent time to do homework — class helps to get into a good homework mindset, but the early hour means that you can still do work and have time left afterwards to enjoy the afternoon. Homework in the morning is only possible after an early class because I, as a not-morning-person, would be unlikely to get up early solely to do homework that could wait until later.

  1. I would not otherwise enjoy the morning or find it relaxing

As I mentioned earlier, I’m not a morning person. There’s no way I’m going to get up early just to relax or have fun or whatever. Plus everyone else on campus is either in class or asleep or actually being productive. I’d much rather have my afternoons free to spend time with friends than mornings. And while I do find sleep to be enjoyable, there are other ways to make my sleep schedule work, and the sleep lost between getting up at 7 as compared to 8 or 8 as compared to 9 makes little difference in terms of how much I enjoy being asleep. Sleep is great, however, it’s nice getting things done in the morning.

I recognize that this opinion is controversial. Last winter, I wrote in the Bald Spot, in an article discussing my love for foggy classes and icy paths, that “[8:15] [is], of course… the ideal class time: late enough to allow for sleeping in but early enough that I don’t grow bored with the unscheduled time I have before class.” I heard from multiple people that this simply was not believable — no one commented on the fact that I was writing an ode to nearly slipping and falling on my way to class, but liking early classes, apparently, was beyond the line of what could plausibly be argued in the Bald Spot. And of course I didn’t mean it totally seriously, those are definitely not the reasons I like early classes, and at the time I didn’t like early classes, but that experience helped me to realize just how much some people dislike early classes.

If you find yourself unconvinced by these arguments, well, that’s ok. While I am not accepting criticism — constructive or otherwise — at this time, I’m always happy to discuss the advantages of early classes, and I can also accept that some will inevitably disagree with me.

But anyway, here is my analysis of why 1/2s (i.e., Tuesday/Thursday classes from 8:15 – 10:00 a.m.) are better than 1as (classes that meet from 8:30-9:40 on Mondays and Wednesdays and 8:30-9:30 on Fridays). A small, very insignificant disclaimer: I’ve never actually taken a 1a. 

I am, however, currently in a class that meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:30 to 11:00, which I think is similar enough, so I feel eminently qualified to write about this topic.

The real advantage of 1/2cs is that they are twice a week rather than three times. Getting up early is doable twice each week, as it still leaves you five days to decide when you want to get up. For Monday Wednesday Friday classes, however, you need to get up early three times each week, leaving only four days in which you can decide when to get up. This difference may seem small, but it isn’t: three times a week is almost half of the week, and that just seems challenging.

The other question is whether 8:15 or 8:30 is a better time. I will acknowledge that there is room for debate here, particularly if 15 extra minutes of sleep make a difference to you. I personally find the difference to be inconsequential in terms of exhaustion level. I would argue that I slightly prefer 8:15, as 8:30 provides the illusion of not being unreasonably early without allowing for extra sleep. 8:15, on the other hand, doesn’t lie to you. It is quite early, and it never pretends otherwise. I respect that. I appreciate the self-awareness. 

The main issue that I haven’t addressed here is class length. I was told by a friend the other day that the time length of 1as is better because being tired for a shorter class period is better than for a long class period, and honestly, I trust her judgment there. This is a valid counterargument. Given that my 1a is very long (two and a half hours, to be exact), I can only speculate about this, but with the assumption that my friend is right, this question becomes a balance between that and the number of days per week.

So really, as you compare early class periods, the question is: would you rather get up early more often, or have longer class periods while tired? This is the line differentiating the two optimal times for classes.

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About the Contributor
Becky Reinhold
Becky Reinhold, Editor in Chief
I'm a junior Philosophy major, and I can usually be found in the basement of Anderson or wandering around Northfield. I like thunderstorms and writing articles around 2am. Becky was previously Managing Editor, Viewpoint Editor, and Design Editor.

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