Surprisingly enough, there are classes starting at 8 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. at UCSB, which works well for some students and doesn’t work for others. Film and media studies class Magic Lantern (FAMST 119ML) is one such example, with movie screenings from 6 p.m. to 11:50 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays.
While later classes may give students more freedom in their schedules and are suitable for some, no one should be forced to take classes that start so late in the day. Administration should offer morning, afternoon, and night classes to fit each students’ needs.
There are several drawbacks, like difficulty in focusing and increased stress, which often accompany later classes. Students shouldn’t be limited to night classes because retaining material after a long, busy day is tough.
Stress reaches an all-time high at the day’s end, which makes late classes unappealing. Fourth year philosophy major and applied psychology minor Mary Munoz feels “stress” during her philosophy section at 8 p.m. She said this is a result of still having things on her to-do list and having a nighttime class.
Expecting every student to function well later in the evening is unreasonable. From 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., the brain experiences “an abrupt transition” from being “wide awake” to “sleepy,” according to a report by Australian and British researchers. Each person’s body works differently, hence the terms “night owl” and “early bird.”
Even during afternoon classes, the brain’s concentration levels are not as high as early morning levels. Between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., the brain is “pretty fatigued.”
Students are also more likely to skip classes later in the day especially if they have to go back to campus when they would rather just stay home. Munoz prefers earlier classes and feels more “discouraged” to go to class because it’s so late. After all, going to and from campus in the dark and waiting for the bus in the cold don’t seem all that enticing.
However, there are people who work most of the day, so night classes are their only option.
While starting class at 8 p.m. or later works for students who have daytime jobs or extracurricular activities, this shouldn’t be the expectation for all students. Letting students choose their own schedules is best because each student has different needs.
In fact, fourth year sociology major Lexie Henderson doesn’t mind having a class from 8 to 9:15 p.m. and another from 7 to 9:50 p.m as much. She says she doesn’t have a problem paying attention during these times. However, this isn’t suitable for everyone, like early birds or people who function better in the morning.
Because late classes work for some Gauchos, offering later times is still necessary. A variety of course times provide students with more flexibility when they create their schedules and may be better for professors and grad students too.
Sleep specialist Dr. Rubin Naiman says your body and mind slow down as the sun goes down. So, when the sun goes down, administration should still offer classes but provide other available times as well.