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Don’t hit snooze. You’ve got class at 7 a.m.

Space crunch means university students are waking up early


 

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At 6 a.m.—well before sunrise—Melodie Meleskie gets out of bed two days per week to make her breakfast (fruit and toast with peanut butter and jelly) before rushing to her accounting lecture, which begins at 7 a.m.

“With such an early class I’ve found it hard to concentrate,” says the first-year Wilfrid Laurier University business student. “Even the on-campus coffee shops [aren’t] open yet.”

Ontario universities accepted a record number of students last year, 50 per cent more than a decade earlier, and there hasn’t been enough new classroom space to accommodate the crunch. That means officials can’t always find classroom space within the normal nine-to-five work day.

At Laurier, registrar Ray Darling says the main reason for scheduling such early classes is “quite simply a lack of space.” In 2011, Laurier demolished a building that housed many business classes in order to begin construction of their new Global Innovation Exchange (GIE) building, set to open in 2015. That resulted in a “space crunch.” The original plan was to schedule some classes on Saturdays but after a backlash against that proposal, the school opted to put some first-year classes early in the morning. He thinks the schedule might return back to normal in 2015.

At Ryerson University, registrar Charmaine Hack gives a similar explanation for scheduling classes as early as 8 a.m., calling it a “practical necessity.” She says 8 a.m. classes are nothing new and has received complaints about them for years from students and instructors.

Brittany Starkman, a second-year Radio and Television Arts student at Ryerson, says her main problem with the 8 a.m. classes, which she had little choice but to take, was her 90-minute commute from Richmond Hill, Ont., which meant getting up before 6 a.m. “It sucked,” she says. “I had to make arrangements to stay over downtown or I’d just skip,” she says. Skipping was a waste of money.

Some feel differently. Second-year Ryerson nursing student Olivia Kavanagh says she enjoys 8 a.m. classes because she finishes earlier. “It’s over and I still have the rest of the day.”

Sarah Cunningham-Scharf is a journalism student at Ryerson University.


 

Don’t hit snooze. You’ve got class at 7 a.m.

  1. Get over it. 7 or 8 am starts are not that unusual for many people.
    For the amount of capital invested in educational facilities it is a waste to see these tax payer funded facilities so underutilised. Its time to see a paradigm shift in our thinking on how we get more use from facilities we have.

  2. Hard to have sympathy when the rest of the world has to get up at 6 to go to work…. and that is 5 days a week…. and that includes the faculty at McMaster who have an 8:30 class (our earliest… so far)!

  3. Not only do classes outside the traditional times of 9-5 make better use of government resources but it also prepares students for the demands of the real world where you can’t choose your work schedule.

  4. To those who say “get over it” or otherwise lack sympathy keep in mind that research shows that young adults don’t learn very well that early in the morning, and not just out of laziness to get to bed early. Circadian rhythms are a biological fact and forcing the issues is nearly as ludicrous as asking older adults to STAY at work until midnight. Humans are not machines. When we recognize and accept what our ideal working conditions are a full 8 hours of sleep and work/class starting no earlier than 8AM, we can be more efficient. The University can find other ways to deal with overcrowding.

    • I am in agreement with Sarah Anne. The article stating that classes could happen outside of 9am-5pm misrepresents the current situation. There are evening classes Mon. – Thur that end at 10pm and there are regular classes that start Mon-Fri at 8:30am. Currently facilities are used to capacity. The only exception is on the weekends. On weekends the tax payer can rest assured that the facilities they contributed to are also often booked by the public for a variety of events. The benefit is two fold, connection with the community at large and financial support since tax dollars do not, and cannot possibly, provide sufficient funding.

  5. One thing that never gets mentioned is that space utilization is horrible at universities. If classes would run from 8:30 – 4:30 Mon – Fri (instead of 8:30 – 11:30 Tues to Thurs), there’d be plenty of space. There would also be more course variety for students, less waste, and other efficiencies. Unfortunately, the instructors tend to want to work the truncated work weeks.

    • What university has such limited class times? Here there are classes five days a week, Monday to Friday. The earliest classes start at 8:30 am and the latest ones end at 10:30 pm.

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