earlyrisers
Photo: Left: Photo from Theresa Dierkes | Right: Photo from Angelica Zhou

Penn classes at 9 a.m. are usually met with tired eyes and irritable students. But for some, these early mornings are the best part of the day.

“I try to have 9 a.m.’s all week,” Wharton freshmen Angelica Zhou said. “It is nice to have the whole rest of your day free.”

Zhou is what many would call an “early riser” and admits the latest she has woken up in college is 9:30 a.m. Her mornings are used for studying and recharging for the day.

“It is nice to wake up with the sun,” Zhou said.

For Zhou, sleep is a vital component to her well-being. The Detroit native said health is her “number one priority” and getting enough sleep allows her to work more efficiently in the mornings and throughout the day. She added that many Penn students do not get enough sleep due to academic stresses.

Wharton junior Tiffany Yung is also an early bird, waking up between 6:30 and 7:30 each morning. After making herself coffee, Yung often heads to Huntsman Hall to do work and answer unread emails and text messages.

“There is nobody there, it’s actually really nice to work,” Yung said. “I check the other rooms in the building and there are, like, no lights.”

Yung says, for her, waking up early is a habit. Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., Yung went to high school across the River in Manhattan and mentioned that she used to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to commute to class.

Yung’s habits also make her daytime hours more organized and productive.

“Past midnight, I just can’t get anything done,” Yung said. “I like to plan ahead.”

In contrast to Yung’s enviable study discipline, Nursing freshman Theresa Dierkes classifies herself as the “worst procrastinator.”

Dierkes is one of eight children and tries to wake up around 7:30 a.m.

“My mom would always try to get up us early,” Dierkes explained.

Dierkes soon began to adopt her mother’s sleep tendencies and now sometimes uses her mornings to exercise.

“I’m realizing more and more that even though it is hard to wake up earlier and it’s easier to wake up later, it [morning] is the most productive time.” Dierkes said. “I just feel like I waste a day if I wake up late.”

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