Balance, Classes, General, Places, Profs, Student Life, Study

Transitioning From a Night Owl to an Early Bird

Everyone, mornings are not my friend. I’m the type of person who crawls out of the bed slowly, sloth-like, and is counting down the hours until I can return to that safe haven. I’m also a self-professed night owl, meaning that I can be up until late into the night while the rest of the world is asleep. I’ve also been fortunate enough that almost all of my courses have been afternoon or evening ones during my time here at U of T. I’ve never purposely planned it that way, but those were often the time slots when the courses I was most interested in were available and therefore, the night owl within me often rejoiced. This term, however, I’ve been dealt another set of cards, where I have almost all morning and/or early afternoon classes. I’m used to taking my mornings at my own pace – working on assignments, doing readings, catching up on emails, and usually waking up whenever I felt like it. But now that I’ve become a forced early bird, I’ve learned some things about having an organized and structured morning.

Never skip breakfast! Having most of my mornings unorganized, I would have breakfast sometimes. I’ve attempted to convince myself that I’m not that hungry before I head to campus. But when my stomach began to make awkward, growling noises halfway through my morning lecture, I realized that I was very, very wrong. I’m a light eater in the morning, so whether it’s a quick grab-and-go bagel or a small bowl of cereal, breakfast will help to tide me over until the lunch hour and it will also help me to stay alert in class.

Picture of breakfast

I wish I had time for a breakfast like this every morning! (Source:

Get enough hours of sleep. Walking into class, blurry eyed and yawning, will not lead to a productive time. Also, you’re probably going to want to lie your head on the desk and sleep away. On average, between 7-9 hours of sleep is recommended for adults. I’ve noticed that I’m somewhere in the middle: if I get 7 hours of sleep, I feel somewhat well rested, if I get 9 hours of sleep, I feel groggy. So having approximately 8 hours of sleep every night leaves me feeling completely well rested and able to tackle the day. I’m also not tempted to induce myself into a coffee coma every morning.

Picture of a tower of coffee cups

The beginning of the end..or when McDonald’s gives away free coffee and I become dependent for a week.

Set everything out for the next morning. I make sure that I have the textbooks I need for the following day as well as any notebooks or worksheets. I also make sure that my laptop and cell phone are charged, so I don’t end up in class with my laptop at only 17%. If you commute and bring lunch, make sure to pack up everything you need: drinks, snacks, and your meal, so in the morning, you can just grab it out of the fridge and go. I also check the weather and set out the appropriate clothing I’ll need for the next day. Trust me, not knowing that it will snow 5 cm later in the afternoon can be problematic when you’re wearing running shoes instead of winter boots.

Looking back, these seem to be some basic tips when becoming an early bird, but sometimes, the busy aspects of life can allow us to forget our most basic necessities. I’m incredibly interested in all of the courses I’m taking this term, and I have energetic and awesome professors that make my classes interesting and fun. I think I’ll always be a night owl in some capacity, but now I’ve realized: I can do both.