One of the most intimidating aspects of college is time management. How does one organize their schedule perfectly? How do people get all their work done? How can I get a workout in? And is it even possible to see my loved ones? 

Busy mornings or late afternoon class schedules often force a choice between taking advantage of the morning hours or focusing on the dimmer hours of the day. Luckily, we’ve curated a list of the benefits to pursuing each. The following tips can provide clarity on how to organize your schedule. 

Reasons to become an early bird

The blissful serendipity of quiet morning hours 

There’s something innately soothing about rising before the sun and the rest of campus. A calming stillness in the air prepares you for the hectic day ahead. Empty sidewalks remind you that your concerns that day are small. Put simply, the quietude of the world forces an inner-peace. Early mornings can cause less irritability, helping you feel better prepared to face the day’s challenges. Start by setting your alarm just 30 minutes earlier than usual and see what happens. You just might be surprised at how much a tranquil start to your day can transform the rest of your schedule.

Run into a different crowd of people 

In the early hours of the morning, you often run into people you never would have otherwise. There may be a friendly janitor to give you a warm smile. Energized joggers might wave hello. A sleep-deprived Dobbs Common Table cook serves you an early morning breakfast, you exchange formalities and lament about whatever is plaguing the both of you that day. Now you have a friendly face to recognize every time you grab a bite to eat. Mornings can supply unparalleled opportunities for bonding that don’t take place during the bustling day. Interactions blossom when life slows down. 

Morning exercise starts your day off on the right foot

Although exercise at any point of the day can shift your mindset, why not experience a rush of endorphins first thing in the morning? Targeting your workouts toward the morning can develop good habits and, over time, you begin to associate working out with getting up. As an added bonus, your workout will be far more enjoyable when completed before the fierce Georgia sun fully rises. The earlier the workout, the more time in the day to reap the benefits. You’ll have an extra pep in your step and likely be a far more enjoyable person to be around. Exercise can improve memory, concentration and mental health. With a myriad of academic responsibilities, making an effort to wake up earlier could have a lasting impact on academic performance. So, get out of bed and take an early morning stroll through Lullwater!

Illustration by Mia Usman

Reasons to become a night owl

More time for hobbies 

In the daily rush of school, homework and clubs, becoming a night owl could be the best way to catch up on personal hobbies like crocheting and painting. Not to mention, creativity comes more easily when the moon is out. The prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with the ability to concentrate, begins to falter as sleep drive increases at the end of the day, which clears the way for more flexible thinking. Use this creative flow to take hobbies to the next level. The next time you find yourself staying up at night, try working on some of your passion projects and see what you create.

More mental alertness 

The next time you’re worried about being able to do work at night — don’t. Your brain is good to go, for the most part. Researchers at the University of Liege in Belgium found that those who are used to staying up later are able to concentrate on tasks without feeling fatigued. With this in mind, spare time at night could be used to catch up on assignments, plan out a weekly schedule and even start some projects ahead of time. If you decide to become a night owl, you’ll find yourself with extra time to catch up on some tasks you may have put off to head to bed early.

Create more memories with friends over Zoom

Nighttime is one of the best times to hang out with friends. During the day, others are often booked with daily tasks and might not have time to socialize. Banding together as night owls creates time to build life-long memories. Try watching a late-night movie together, having a dance party in a dorm, going for a walk outside or even having a contest to see who can bake the sweetest midnight treat. Either way, the evening is the perfect occasion to catch up and unwind with friends who have busy morning schedules. 

Conclusion

Whether you resonate more with the benefits of being an early bird or a night owl, these tips should give you a head start in deciding how to operate throughout the spring. Both options pose certain advantages — just ensure to pick the best and healthiest schedule for you. Try alternating between both routines to feel out which one works best; either way, remember to make time for yourself as you navigate the busy life of being a student.