For a moment, I’d like you to imagine the perfect morning for you. 

The sun is barely shining. The hallways are empty. The shower water is freezing cold, and the air sends a chill down your spine. You wake up, look at your phone, and a part of you begs yourself to go back to sleep, to just rest for five more minutes.

Did that describe it? Probably not.

As someone who is not a morning person, waking up at 6:30 a.m. isn’t the early morning start many people envision. To me, it’s filled with a myriad of tiny, annoying things, like the freezing shower water that refuses to warm up or the frustrating period of time between total darkness and bright sunlight, where a room is only half illuminated and figuring out where things are is chaos. To me, I always imagined sleeping in as late as possible, staying warm and snuggled up in my two layers of blankets.

However, this semester is a new chance and was a time to experiment with my sleep schedule, so I took a chance. And after three days of this new routine, I began to notice things I didn’t notice before.

I noticed the quiet of the bathroom, as every move I made let out a crash of sound that was then embraced by the silence that hung in the air. I noticed the juxtaposition of the smooth, continuous stream of water from the shower and the chaotic pitter-patter of water hitting the shower floor. I could almost hear myself shivering in the morning as I went to get breakfast, and I could hear the almost muted sounds of other students as I ate that breakfast in the early morning.

But that’s not what I’m here to tell you. Noticing sounds is unique, but it’s not the revelation that’s begun to make my life so much better.

Last semester, I took Introduction to Global Politics with Professor Denemark, who challenged me to engage with the world, to pay attention to the events in other countries, and to never be limited by where we lived or the small bubbles of knowledge and actions we inhabited. So, on a whim, I decided to listen to the BBC World News podcast on a cool Tuesday morning.

And now, instead of just being able to hear the small things on campus, I could hear about events around the world. I could hear news from Germany, India, or Brazil, while enjoying the quiet of a morning breakfast. I could hear news that not only connected to what I knew about global politics, but I could now properly listen and understand rising and falling tensions in the world, big events, new ideas, and interesting discoveries.

And the best thing about all of this? I still have nearly four hours of relaxation every morning.

Staying up late is inevitable. Waking up late is inevitable. But the urge to push, to learn, and to properly listen to what’s happening around us and in our world are things that I’ve not only learned in classes, but I’ve also learned from the behaviors and the experiences of my friends and peers in the Honors College. 

Maybe you have a late class, and you have to wake up late the next day. Maybe you’re just not a morning person, and that’s okay! But if you take the time to wake up early and listen to the world around you, there’s so much worth hearing and so much worth learning. 

Happy listening!


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