Night owls and early birds discuss night versus morning classes

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If you are a night owl looking for evening classes, good luck. In the English program alone in the fall 2018 semester, there are 18 out of 115 classes that start at 4 p.m., two that start at 5:30 p.m., and 16 that start at 7 p.m.

A study was recently conducted on students’ circadian rhythms, also known as “the body clock”. It proved that most students’ circadian rhythms were out of sync with their class schedules. When a night owl takes a morning class, for example, they received a lower grade due to “social jetlag.”

“We found that the majority of students were being jet-lagged by their class times, which correlated very strongly with decreased academic performance,” said study co-lead author Benjamin Smarr.

The study also says circadian rhythm of older people tend to be active earlier whereas younger people shift to a later sleeping and waking schedule. Additionally, it found that men tend to stay up later than women.

Junior screen acting major Tom Byrne agrees with the study’s findings. Byrne says the lack of night classes at Chapman affects his grades. He is currently enrolled in two 8 a.m. classes despite being a self-proclaimed night owl.

“It’s absurd how little amount of night classes there are at Chapman considering the amount of money we are paying,” Byrne said. “It affects me greatly in class because I am so groggy until around 12. My participation grade is down the drain due to the time period of the class,” he added. According to Chapman’s Office of Registrar, the departments decide when classes will be held and most have decided to hold their classes earlier on in the day.

“We’re a traditional school; we have school during the day,” Associate Provost Ken Murphy said. “It’s an observation that most students want to take their classes during the times of 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.”

Most Chapman students interviewed by The Prowl did not believe they had a performance difference in night classes versus morning classes as the study suggested. Many students, including freshman business major Mallory Mathis, simply prefer morning classes because it allows for a more flexible day schedule.

“I prefer morning classes because I feel like I have the rest of the day to do things,” Mathis, who plays for Chapman’s softball team, said. “I have more time for practice if I get my classes out of the way early on.”

Other students prefer night classes so that they can have jobs and internships during the day. Sophomore English major Sophia Whiteman is all taking night classes this semester in order to have both a job and an internship.

“While I don’t like night classes, I’m really glad Chapman offers them because it allows me to have a job and an internship during the day,” Whiteman said.  

Most students interviewed disagreed with the study’s finding that class times affect student performance.

“The reason I don’t like night classes is because I don’t like driving late at night and getting out of class when it’s dark,” said senior business major Morgan Morris. “I am a morning person, but I got an A in my night class.”

Lauren Thomas

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