Column: Why having a morning routine is key to staying on track

As a demanding semester begins, the need for a morning routine becomes evident. Sarah Pinkerton | Photographer

By Jillian Veldey | Staff Writer

As students have fully entered the season of the semester filled with heavy coursework, some find it challenging to maintain the strenuous schedule that college life demands. How are college students supposed to flip a switch and suddenly go from an extended winter break to balancing tests and other obligations week after week?

The answer? A successful morning routine. Keyword: routine. This means you have to keep up with it until it becomes habitual.

Most college students don’t delight in waking up at the crack of dawn to start their day on the right foot. Instead, the majority would rather spend the first part of their days fighting with the snooze button on their alarm clocks.

Fort Mitchell senior Lauren Ratliff said establishing a morning routine made all the difference for her.

“It used to be close to impossible for me to wake up in the mornings. It was the absolute last thing I wanted to do,” Ratliff said. “It wasn’t until I started looking up ways to help me be more productive throughout my day and all of them mentioned the importance of a morning routine that I decided to give it a try.”

Time, or rather the lack thereof, seems to be a common kryptonite amongst college students. This is why waking up early is a vital part of a successful morning routine. Waking up earlier than you normally would ensures that you have time to do things throughout your day that are actually important to you.

Round Rock sophomore Taryn Mitteness said taking advantage of her mornings has given her more free time throughout the day.

“My favorite thing about my mornings is how much freedom waking up early gives me throughout my day,” Mitteness said. “If there is something I need to accomplish, doing it in the morning gives me the ability to then spend more time with my roommates throughout the day. On the flip side of that, if I know that I have obligations or a super busy day ahead, I can use my mornings for more personal time.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, screen time for everyone, but especially students, has drastically increased. College students are required to be glued to screens all day so limiting that time in the morning when you don’t need to be on your devices is very important. In the mornings it can be beneficial to set aside time where you don’t look at your phone and start your day screen-free.

Dallas junior Katherine Welch said the benefits of not looking at her phone first thing helps her mood.

“I really like to get up and go work out in the morning and I try not to go on my phone until after that,” Welch said. “Not going on my phone for the first hour or so of my day helps me be more productive in the morning and I see the lasting effects of that as the day progresses. It also starts me off in a better mood.”

Morning routines can be completely personalized to best fit your schedule and lifestyle. The only two components that are essential in every morning routine is that it must be consistent and it must be comprised of habits that are beneficial to you and your day ahead.

“I’m not a person who necessarily enjoys routines, I don’t stick to any strict schedule usually. That’s why adjusting to my morning routine was somewhat challenging,” Ratliff said. “It wasn’t until I stuck to a routine that I felt truly set me up for a successful day for two weeks that I really started seeing the benefits of that routine.”

Starting your day with accomplishment, even if it’s as simple as not hitting the snooze button on your alarm or making your bed can have a long-lasting impact on the trajectory for the rest of your day.

Regardless of how you design your ideal morning routine, all that matters is that you incorporate habits that will set you up for success. Continue practicing them until they become a normal part of your life.