You look at your class schedule and groan. There it is: An undroppable, unchangeable class that is essential to your degree program. It’s an important class in your major, one where you really need to do well in it. And it’s scheduled for EIGHT O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!
Why do they do this? Why put the essentials only at a time of day no human being should be conscious, much less alert and attentive?
Sooner or later, you’re going to find yourself in this situation. It could be helpful to review a few tips for dealing with a class at an unmanageable hour of the day.
Map out the location of every single coffee stop between your house and the class and plan to hit them all. Caffeine is your friend. What? Don’t like coffee? Try tea—but go for the heavy duty stuff like one of the double-dark-super-strong breakfast blends. Make it as strong as you can—and get a double. Don’t like tea either? Go for Coca Cola (diet is fine). But make sure you make a stop at a restroom just before you walk into the classroom, or you’ll be miserable squirming in your seat for an hour.
Get yourself a digital recorder.
If you can manage to get into class…somehow…use a digital recorder to record the lecture. That way, even though you’re probably unconscious while sitting in your seat, you’ll at least have a record of what was said.
Skip the allergy meds.
If you have allergies, plan to suffer through the symptoms until after class. No allergy meds, which tend to make you drowsy, until after class. If you need to take them in the morning, well, 9 AM is still morning. I’m just saying…
Go to bed early the night before…
Okay, pick yourself up off the floor and stop laughing. I’m serious. Aim for a minimum of, oh, five or six hours sleep. That means, if it takes you half an hour to roll out of bed, pull on the clothes on the floor, and get to class—stopping at every coffee shop on the way—you need to roll into bed no later than around 2 AM. Like I said…early.
…Or go to bed late—like right after class.
If getting to bed early isn’t a possibility, go whole hog and stay up until the class is over. You’re more likely to be awake and semi-alert if you haven’t been to bed at all than if you go to bed and have only two or three hours’ sleep.
Find a study partner.
Key criterion: Study partner must be one of those bizarre creatures, an “early bird.” Of course, to be a study “partner” it means you have to bring something to the partnership—something other than attending classes promptly. Figure out what you can contribute that your early bird needs.
Suck up to the smart kid in class.
Note that this doesn’t have to be someone who’s currently in the class—it could be someone who aced it the previous term. But suck up hard. You’re going to need this one’s help to get through the class if you miss most of the classes due to physical absence—or unconsciousness even if you’re there.