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The Art of Making it to your 9AM

…and living to tell the tale

9am Cambridge Cindies circle of life early start lecture painful Student

“Oh god,” your college parents say, grimacing as they look at your timetable, “three 9AMs in a row. That’s going to be hell.”

They are older, wiser, and you should heed their warning. However, in your rebellious youth, you do not. Fool. Instead, you choose to be embarrassingly optimistic. “It’s fine,” you tell yourself, “I had to get to school for 8:30 every day.”

Except it’s not fine. It’s the opposite of fine. It’s enif. As in, enif of this shameless lying to yourself. Getting up at 6:30 was the Old You, and the Old You can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ‘cause she’s asleep.

But do not fret, my pet. For I, someone who has successfully made it to 1.5 of her three 9AM’s this week, have compiled a comprehensive guide for your enlightenment.

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You may not like it, but this is what peak performance looks like

Firstly, pack your bag beforehand. This way, you can just grab it in your sleep-induced daze and go. I’ve (generously) prepared a packing list so you don’t have to:

Food. I’m going to say it because I like being predictable at every possible moment: BREAKFAST IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY. Not because of “metabolism” or “nutrition” or any of this “scientific” BS, but because otherwise you’re doomed to be a social pariah your whole life.

Imagine it: the lecturer is talking about something you only vaguely understand, you’re writing it all down anyway, suddenly there is a brief pause – a moment of calm before the storm. And when I say storm, I mean your stomach. Your gut, an aspiring SoundCloud DJ, deciding that this would be the best time to lay down its newest grime track to the entire lecture theatre. Did you eat a foghorn for breakfast??? Nope. You ate nothing. And be it thine downfall.

Water. All those fine af cantabs around you and you think you’re not going to get thirsty? You need something to sip on while you submit that Crushbridge.

Earphones. This is more for the journey than during your lecture (unless you’re like, Super Edgy™), but the idea of walking without a boppy soundtrack and instead having to listen to sounds of nature is mildly horrific. How else are you possibly going to enact your life as a dramatic music video? The only thing worse than this would be having to make conversation with the people around you. Grim.

Optional: you could possibly take something to write with/type on but the notion that you’re actually going to be even remotely awake at such an ungodly hour is somewhat unrealistic. IMO, I’d swap out the laptop for a pillow.

Secondly, establish a nightly routine. I get it, it’s Wednesday Cindies. All your friends are going out. They tell you “it’s okay, you’ll make it back by 1, you’ll still get 7 hours of sleep!” No. You need to be strong.

Repeat the following mantra to yourself: “I have a 9 AM tomorrow.” Tell them this when they beg you to come. “I have a 9 AM tomorrow.” Say it again as you down your third shot of vodka. “I have a 9 AM tomorrow.” Inform the bouncer on your way in. “I have a 9 AM tomorrow.” Wail it out as Circle of Life plays in the background. “I have a 9 AM tomorrow.”

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No Ragrets

Stumble back to your room at 3:32 AM and set several alarms. You’re going to sleep through the first four, but they’ll wake everyone on your staircase up. And they, vis-a-vis hurled insults, will wake you up.

Guaranteed success, really. Sure, everyone will hate you, but it won’t compare to how much you hate yourself while you’re trying to stay awake through a lecture about Calculating the Eigenvalues of Three-by-three Matrices.

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Waking up to cute messages from bae

Throw on your waviest garms, grab your pre-packed bag, and walk at a leisurely pace to your lecture. The operative here, of course, is ‘leisurely’. This is a necessity. I repeat, a NECESSITY. It does not matter how late you are. Running means arriving hot and sweaty, when really, you just want to arrive looking hot.

Finally, sporting only a marginally pounding headache and a victorious smile, stroll into the lecture room. Sit yourself down, and prepare yourself for some serious intellectual stimulation. You have made it. A perfect equilibrium of work and play.