Have you ever taken a night class? They can be necessary for those who work during the day, or they might be a required class. They have their ups and downs. One “up” is that you only have to go once a week. However, sitting in a room listening to a lecture for three hours can be quite challenging. I should know, given that my classes are in French. So, I’m going to share some of the ways that I manage to get through it.

    I get tired around 6 p.m., which is not the case for everyone, but I certainly can’t be the only one. So, to combat this, I have found that a large cup of sugary coffee about an hour before class keeps me alert. But this is not exactly healthy, and I struggle with heart palpitations, so what can be done instead?

    According to DevelopGoodHabits.com, staying awake and focused requires some very easy and basic steps. Two of my favorites are drinking a lot of water beforehand and not eating a huge meal. 

“Most people have experienced the notorious ‘food coma’ after eating a large meal. This results in a feeling of heaviness that drains your energy,” the article reads, “tasking your body with digesting a large meal is exhausting. Eating large portions—especially of unhealthy foods—will leave your body with little energy to use elsewhere.” 

But, it is important to keep your energy levels up, so instead, try eating a few small meals throughout the day that are not high in carbs. I like eating cashews and almonds for a snack before class and bringing a granola bar, in case I’m still hungry. There is typically a small break in the middle to eat, get water and go to the bathroom. 

Another thing that they suggest is sleeping well the night before, which, while obvious, is not the easiest thing to control. So, if you happen to feel fatigued before class, bring some ice water to drink, and maybe take a cold shower beforehand. 

During class, take notes and ask questions. This will prevent you from zoning out for the most part by keeping you engaged. Asking questions will also aid in understanding the more complex material.  

Another thing that can be daunting about night classes is the graduate students. In one of my classes, I am the only undergraduate, and four of the grad students speak French as a first language. This is moderately intimidating. So how do you get over that? 

The first part is to remember that everyone wants to learn, and all of the grad students that I have met are incredibly helpful. Several people in the class have told me that my French is pretty good, and I just need some more practice. This has encouraged me in the questions that I ask. Also, remember that they are not making fun of you or your lack of knowledge. You are probably at a lower level, but they were at that point once too.