UWO needs to cancel early morning classes

Staff Editorial

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Colleges should stop having early morning classes because later nights and of- ten busy schedules prevent meaningful sleep, and re- search shows college students’ circadian rhythms are different than those of older adults.

UW Oshkosh senior Natalie Schuster said she does everything in her power to stay away from early classes.

“I am not an early morning person, so it’s rough for me to get up for 8 a.m. or even9 a.m. classes,” Schuster said. “As for early morning classes on students in general, I think a lot of them avoid 8 a.m. [classes] unless they absolutely have to [not], and even then a lot probably aren’t paying attention to learn as much as they could. It is good practice for those of us who will enter the workforce and have to be to work by 8 a.m. or sooner. But overall it has a bad impact on learning.”

Many other students on campus do their best to avoid taking 8 a.m. classes. How- ever, many classes are only held early in the morning, and with the emphasis on graduating college in four years, students sometimes do not have a choice but to enroll in 8 a.m. classes.

‘School Start Times, Sleep, Behavioral, Health, and Academic Outcomes: A Review of the Literature,’ an article in the Journal of School Health, stated young adults are most awake during the afternoon and evening time.

UWO senior Sean Becher said his prefers middle-of- the-day classes, and thinks night classes can be difficult for many because they interfere with after-school clubs and extracurriculars.

“They shouldn’t have early morning [classes],” Becher said. “But they shouldn’t have night classes either.”

UWO junior Coral King works at Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh to help pay for school and improve her resume. She struggles to get enough sleep between balancing work, being in a sorority and getting home- work done.

She said her work shifts often do not get done until 11:30 p.m., making the following mornings stressful and exhausting.

“I am able to go to bed late and get up early for a night or two,” King said. “But then by day four or five of this, I am exhausted and have a difficult time concentrating in class.”

Every student has heard how important getting at least eight hours of sleep per night is. However, between early morning classes, jobs, homework and participating in student organizations, not enough college students get even close to eight hours of sleep each night.

Since there is enough re- search out there that has caused many high schools and middle schools across the country to change their start times, colleges should follow and start classes later as well.

Early morning classes and late-night studying lead to sleep deprivation, especially for students who choose to pull all-nighters.

This sleep deprivation causes students to be more tired during the day and more likely to take naps or drink more coffee or energy drinks in order to make up for their lack of sleep. Being tired also leads to less concentration and focus, some of the last things students need while taking a test or working on a project.

Senior and Community Advisor in Horizon Village Crystal Knuth said through

her experiences of staying up all night to study and do homework, she can determine it is simply not worth the side effects to do so.

“I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve had my fair share of nights without sleep,” Knuth said. “But through a health scare, I’ve learned our well-being is the most valuable part about ourselves. A healthy body and mind not only means we can give more to the world around us, but we can fully experience everything life has to offer.”

Jane F. Gaultney wrote in her academic journal ‘The Prevalence of Sleep Disorders in College Students: Impact on Academic Performance’ lack of sleep has a direct impact on test performance, social relationships and mental health.

Early morning classes don’t take into account non-traditional college students either. Many nontraditional students travel to campus every day and have full-time jobs and children to take care of.

St. Norbert College is an example of a school that changed start times last fall. Classes that run Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays start at 8:30 a.m., while classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays begin at 8:20 a.m.

SNC junior Elyse Gmack said she saw a difference be- tween her overall mood and class performance level from her freshman and sophomore years because of the class time changes.

“I like the time change be- cause it gives me more time to enjoy my morning and be a little more awake before going to class,” Gmack said.

UWO should follow in St. Norbert’s footsteps and stop having classes before 8:30 a.m. because it would be altogether be better for students.”