Are you going back to college and taking evening classes? Do you need tips for preparing for night classes?
When I started grad school last fall, I knew it was going to be an adjustment taking classes on the weekends and in the evenings.
In fall quarter, I eased into grad school with every other Saturday classes from 9am-5pm. In both winter and spring quarter, I took two night classes from 6pm-10pm on top of my full time job. Personally, it was a bigger adjustment for me to go to evening classes than attend classes on Saturdays.
In grad school, you’re still expected to show up, engage, and come prepared with all the reading and homework assignments – even if you’re exhausted from a full day of work. I had days where I showed up to my night class hungry because I didn’t pack snacks. And I had days when I showed up super tired because I didn’t get enough rest the night before.
While evening grad school classes are challenging, I’ve learned they are do-able. There are so many of us the Masters of Digital Media program in Comm Lead who are balancing children, families, work, and side businesses.
So today I wanted to share a few tips on how to prepare for evening classes! Here are:
7 Tips to Help You Prepare for Night Classes
Night Classes Tip #1: Make sure you get enough sleep the night before
When you’re at work for 8 hours a day and then head to class for another four hours, you have to be rested. I’ve stayed up too late and struggled through classes the next day because I wasn’t well rested. In order for you to have the most energy and focus, you can’t sacrifice your sleep! I do my best to head to bed at least 30 min before my normal bedtime the night before I have work and school the next day.
Night Classes Tip #2: If you need caffeine, play around with the right amount
One mistake I made early in grad school was drinking a coffee at 5pm. I would be awake for class but then I would be awake for another hour or so after class. Then I would get less sleep that night and be even more tired at work the next day.
If you’re feeling tired and need a little bit of caffeine, try tea instead of coffee. Or maybe drink half a cup of coffee!
Night Classes Tip #3: Drink water during class
Whether you need a kick of caffeine or not, you should be drinking water. Not only will you stay hydrated, but drinking water will also keep you awake! There’s also a ton of health benefits that comes with drinking water in general!
Night Classes Tip #4: Come prepared with food and snacks
Depending on the length of class and where your class is located on your college campus, you may not have time to run and grab food. My grad school classes are four hour blocks. Some professors structure two 15 min breaks, other professors put a 20-25 min break in the middle, and others opt for 3 10 min breaks. You may or may not have enough time to run down somewhere on campus to get food, so I highly advise you bring dinner or snacks!
Night Classes Tip #5: Walk during your breaks
During my 15 min breaks in class, I opt to walk to the Starbucks on campus. It’s hard on your body to sit for four hours when you’ve already sat for 8 hours that day. I do my best to get my body moving and blood pumping during breaks. Walking during your class breaks will also help you stay awake!
Night Classes Tip #6: Make a friend in class
I love coming to class when I know I have friends in class. It makes taking the class more enjoyable! Additionally, if something comes up and you end up missing a part of class that day, it helps to go to a friend and see what you missed!
This past spring quarter I traveled to Miami and needed to Skype into class. My friend Carissa set up the Skype call from her laptop and let me tune into the four hour class!
Night Classes Tip #7: Take evening classes you’re interested in
Sometimes we have to take core required classes for our programs that we may not be interested in. But if you can choose your electives, make sure you pick classes you’re excited about. I was so excited to take video storytelling, Psychology of UX, and Law of Digital Media class. I wanted to take these classes so I looked forward to going to them.
What are your tips for taking evening college classes?
For more grad school or college advice, you can also check out:
5 Ways to Prep for Grad School this Year
“Dear College Emma”…A Letter of College Advice to Myself
Will this college class actually help me in real life? Here’s 5 classes that did!
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Karya Schanilec