The Discomfort Zone – Wake Up Call

Kate Hicks

Unless you are my roommate Casey, I’m guessing you are asleep between the hours of six and seven in the morning. Most college students are, or so I have found in my experience. Most of us prefer staying up well into the night to waking up before dawn. In the mornings, though, I wake up with just enough time to brush my teeth and even then I have to race across campus to get to my classes. Any time before ten, I’m not very coherent, so living as a morning person for a week may be even tougher than giving up Facebook.

I know myself very well, and I have a tendency to sleep through my alarm. This is actually pretty sad, because my roommates can hear it through three closed doors, and it’s two feet from my head. So for the first morning, I set two alarms for 6:30. I’ve been known to let my alarm go for upwards of an hour, hitting the snooze button every nine minutes until the last possible time I could feasibly ready myself for the day without missing class.

When I do finally drag myself out of bed, I take advantage of the fact that only one of my roommates is awake (and at the gym) and I take a shower. I’m really not a shower-in-the-morning person since I’m never up on time, but I discover that this is a very effective method for waking up. It also means that I’ll be coherent for my first class, which is a bonus. Usually I have to wait until I can go to the Coop for coffee after my 9:20 before I’m fully functional. By the time I’m all ready for my day, it’s still only eight. I’m so unused to having extra time before class! What do I do?

I take about thirty seconds to appreciate the extra time and then do what I do with any extra time I find in my life: study. I didn’t realize mornings could be so productive! I showered, read and was on time for class, all in a span of about three hours that ordinarily I would spend asleep.

The novelty carries over to the next day, and getting out of bed is somewhat easier. I spend my morning lingering over the news with a cup of tea. Despite the fact that I have been up since 6:30 again, I feel so relaxed when I started to get ready for the day. Perhaps I could mold myself into a morning person if I keep this up!

Knock on wood I guess, because the next day I’m back to my old ways, hitting the snooze button for fifty-four minutes before I drag myself out of bed at eight. I’m grumpy with my roommates, and as I stare in the bathroom mirror at my scowling face, I consider for a minute going back to bed. Staying awake until after two and setting an alarm for seven don’t mix, I guess. But no. I can’t waste my parents’ money, so I have to go to class. Needless to say, the rest of this day passes similarly, and I gratefully collapse onto my bed at an early hour.

When my alarm starts blaring at an obscenely early hour the next day, I don’t hit the snooze button at all, but turn off my alarm and jump into the shower. I am determined to make up for yesterday’s abysmal failure. I’m overly chipper to my roommates, apologizing profusely and continuously for my crankiness, and manage to draw giggles when I accidentally spew toothpaste everywhere at one point. I resolve to finish out the week strong; getting up at seven isn’t that much more difficult than getting up at nine, I tell myself. By Friday, I believe it.

There’s more to being a morning person than just waking up early. Part of it lies in the attitude. If your first thought when the alarm goes off is “I hate my life,” you’re likely to go through the rest of the day with that attitude. And really, who wants to be around someone so unpleasant?

In a way, the day I failed to be a morning person teaches me just as much about the habit as the actual waking up early does. The one day that week I wake up ornery, I spend my day snapping at others and unable to think a positive thought. Conversely, those days I wake up early, I have time to wake up, organize myself for the day ahead, and even eat breakfast.

As much as I profess to hate mornings, I rather enjoyed being a morning person. And waking up at 6:30 is much healthier than leaving the library then (not that I’ve done that or anything…). Granted, we all know sleep is rare in the life of an overworked college student, and I’ll take it where I can get it. From now on, I think I’ll compromise and set my alarm for earlier times, to give myself the option of waking up or sleeping in. After all, that’s why we have snooze buttons.