An Ode to 8 a.m. Classes

It’s that time of year again where students are scrambling between eLion and the Schedule of Courses to copy and paste their desired classes for the next semester.

Cell phones are glued to sweaty palms at all times in hopes of victoriously beating out all other competitors in the great “watchlist race”. There are the obvious victors who holler with pride that they are now enrolled in ballroom dancing, while there are a greater number of unlucky students who crawl into depression because they will have to wake up before the clock strikes noon.

To many, an 8 a.m. class will bring a future of sadness, weariness — or in other words, hell. Penn Staters have long embraced a culture where the absolute WORST thing about Penn State is attending an 8 a.m. class.

To those Negative Nancy Nittany Lions, you have yet to see the light!

Last year, I was faced with a schedule of all 8 a.m. classes (not by choice), and I was devastated. It physically, emotionally, and mentally hurt me to  add each class to my list of courses on eLion. I may have even shed a few tears. Just like every other sane person on this planet, I enjoy a good night’s sleep. If I were an animal, I would be a bear in Alaska so that I could hibernate for months when it’s a little too cold for my liking.

Sure, it’s not absolutely delightful to wake up before the sun is up and walk through snow on a day when OPP hasn’t gotten around to shoveling and salting sidewalks yet, and walking on College Avenue before stores are open is far from what I consider curb appeal. Due to these factors, it took me a while to realize that 8 a.m.’s deserve a little bit of love. Syllabus week was especially hard, but challenges were accepted. May the following list give you a silver lining if you’re a bit blue because of that 8 a.m. class you just scheduled.

1. It is a teacher’s pet’s dream come true! 

Many professors are fed up with poor attendance at 8 a.m. classes. These professors award students in attendance with a surprise attendance quiz, or an actual pop quiz if they’re feeling mischievous. Free points!

2. You can be done with classes before noon.

That means you have time to lay out on the HUB lawn, go to the gym before it gets too busy, grab a pitcher outside at Cafe when it opens at 11 and point and laugh at other students who still have to go to classes. You are still be able to proudly say that you had a productive day. Late night? Get to class, and go to back to bed immediately after class. (Note: this goes without saying, but never should you attend a class if you are slightly too hungover, or intoxicated. In that case, never leave your bed. The 8 a.m. will understand, even if your professor won’t.)

3. You will look and feel better, make bank, and have a higher GPA.

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” said Benjamin Franklin. Now, whatever time you decide to go to bed is up to you, but by waking up for your 8 a.m., you are more likely to become jacked, rich, and brilliant. Ben Franklin was pretty successful in life, so I trust his opinion as a reliable source. More realistically, it’s never too early to get your body prepared to wake up for work post-Penn State.

4. Classes are more likely to be canceled.

Even being a morning person, I sometimes have a difficult time waking up. I hop up off of the bed, and my swag simply isn’t on. Many professors feel the same way too, and often times will cancel class due to inclement weather in the early morning.  That time when University Park miraculously had a 2-hour delay? I hit snooze and slept the rest of the day while everyone else trudged their way to their after 10:10 classes.

5. The hot water supply is yours for the taking. 

There is always a clamor in dormitory bathrooms to grab a shower in the evening. For those who live off campus, some residences don’t supply nearly enough hot water as you’d like to take a nice, luxurious shower. However, when it’s 6:15 a.m., everyone else is still sleeping, and no one has used the hot water in the past 7 hours, getting up for that 8 a.m. class is magnificent.

6. The bathrooms on campus are IMPECCABLE. 

Let’s be honest here: there are some filthy bathrooms on campus. I think by now every student at Penn State can nod their heads in agreement that the bathrooms in Willard are the absolute worst. At 8 a.m., however, even the dreaded Willard bathrooms are clean! I’m not going to be unrealistic and say an 8 a.m. turns Willard bathrooms into welcoming lounge areas, but the mere fact that almost all Penn State bathrooms are clean is enough reason for you to not hate your 8 a.m. class. Unless you don’t use bathrooms ever, in which case you’re not using your tuition to its fullest. In fact, you’re flushing those G’s down the toilet.

Given the choice, I would still not enroll myself in all 8 a.m.’s, but the smallest bit of optimism and a venti caramel latte get me through the day starting at 8. Try it out sometime. At least the latte will be fantastic, even if the class isn’t.

Disclaimer: I am apparently the only Onward State writer who proudly supports 8 a.m. classes. E pluribus unum, right?

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About the Author

Yuka Narisako

Yuka legally immigrated to the United States via airplane in 1996 from the small island nation of Japan. Since then she has migrated throughout the country and now identifies herself as a senior majoring in Architectural Engineering. The Shandygaff is her Happy Place, though she was once kicked out of the establishment after breaking her shoe and screaming “I LOVE DAY DRINKING. I’M HAVING FUN.” Yuka is overly enthusiastic about life in general, but especially Ja Rule, Halloween, and the puffy black vest she purchased from the Gap. You can reach her at [email protected], or through Twitter @yukahontass.

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