Sleep. It’s an insatiable indulgence disguised as a necessity for life. The word conjures images of a blissful escape from the demands of school and life.
Most college students manipulate their schedules in order to get more sleep in a school day. But for students who take 8 a.m. classes, sleeping late is a luxury they do not have.
Freshmen are taking more 8 a.m. classes than ever before. In order for GW to accommodate the largest freshman class in its history, first-year students were instructed to take a combination of three units of the following classes: before 9 a.m., at the Mount Vernon Campus, after 5:30 p.m. or 100-level classes.
Freshman Julie Hyman said she would rather not wake up for her 8 a.m. classes, but she is willing to make the sacrifice for a good education.
“I prefer to have more sleep, but my schedule just would not fit unless I took an early class,” Hyman said.
A lack of sleep is a complication that can arise from taking an 8 a.m. class. While some are able to roll out of bed with just enough time to shower and take a brisk walk to class, others must allow extra time to commute between campuses.
Freshman Kristin Eckert, who lives on Foggy Bottom, knows all too well the frustrations of commuting to Mount Vernon for her 8 a.m. English class.
“It’s a pain to wake up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for school,” Eckert said. “The shuttles run every 20 minutes, so if I miss it I’d have to catch the next one. Sometimes I barely make it in to class on time.”
With little time to get ready, some students are forced to miss breakfast, the most important meal of the day.
Freshman Renu Grover said she is often forced to skip breakfast.
“The lines in the Marvin Center are always so long,” Grover said. “I’m not willing to get up even earlier or be late for my class to get breakfast.”
Senior John Gundersen said freshmen are the only ones naive enough to take an 8 a.m. class. Gundersen said freshmen do not fully realize the demands that come from taking such early classes. He said these classes not only require waking up early, but also the ability to be alert and ready to learn.
“I’ve never taken an 8 a.m. class,” Gundersen said. “College classes are much too detailed to be coherent that early in the morning.”
The early class time inspires sophomore Hector Hernandez to become more responsible.
“I normally get five to seven hours of sleep, so it’s hard to get up for class,” Hernandez said. “I’m going to adjust my lifestyle.”
College is a time for growing up. No longer are there nagging parents to restrict students from doing what they want to do, and 8 a.m. classes are life lessons. They teach students the value of time and time management.
Students are made aware of their own limits. They learn to act more responsibly knowing there are obligations they must commit to the next day.
Freshman Christian Flick said it is good conditioning for the realities of life.
“I’m an early riser, so 8 a.m. classes get my day going,” Flick said. “We are not going to be in college for the rest of our lives, so eventually we’ll have to join the real world and get up early.”