Reformations - Change Begins Early
Posted by Evan at 5:48 pm on November 17th, 2008
When I returned to LeTourneau University for the Spring 2008 semester, following an awesome Christmas break spent with my family in Indonesia, I began initiating some changes in my lifestyle. The Fall '07 semester had been a very rough semester for me. It was the first semester where I had to drop a class and my dedication to academics had continued the decline begun in Spring '07. At the end of this semester I was forced to consider how dedicated I was to my education and how happy I was with the life I was currently living; I realized I wasn't to happy with where I saw my life heading.
So when I got back to LeTourneau I began to change how I approached life. These changes encompassed a number of arenas including sleep schedule, study habits, nutrition, exercise, priorities, relationships, and organization.
One of the first things I changed was how much I slept along with when I slept. In high school I had a habit of going to bed at 9pm and waking up at 5am, but when I headed to LeTU that habit died off fast. With so many activities taking place on Club after 9pm trying to go to bed before then was near impossible. I began staying up later, first until 10pm and then later until 11pm, and I began waking up successively later as well. By the Fall '07 semester I was beginning to sleep through my earliest morning classes, an activity which eventually forced me to drop Linear Algebra. I realized that I no longer controlled my sleep schedule but that it now controlled me! So I made getting the sleep I needed (I was aiming for 8 hours a night) my highest priority. In addition, I restarted my habit of waking up early, first at 6am and eventually at 5:30am, to give me some much needed free time for knocking out homework in a quiet distraction-free environment. The combination proved effective and I began going to bed early again, sometimes as early as 8pm!
It was amazing! Waking up rested and ready to face the day is so liberating compared to only getting the bare minimum of four or five hours a night. I also found that by scheduling my sleep I actually had more free time to do things I wanted to do since, instead of wasting time by staying up just a little bit longer to do some horribly unproductive thing, I would just go to bed and get a bit more sleep. This in turn meant I was more awake for my classes which allowed me to learn the material better the first time around (thus avoiding the necessity of long study times in the day(s) before a test) and it also gave me an extra boost on tests and quizzes.
Over the Summer of 2008, while working at Rockwell Collins, I continued this habit of rising at 5:30am and found that getting up early for my job worked as well as, if not better than, it did for school. This was particularly the case with how much sleep I got: because there were fewer late night activities in which I wanted to participate it was easier for me to go to bed consistently earlier. Now, in the Fall semester of 2008, I've actually moved my rising time from 5:30am to 5:00am in order to more effectively accommodate one of the other reforms: exercising.