Valentine: The gift of an hour

Robert Valentine Senior lecturer in advertising

While we endured a crescendo of idiotic political ads last weekend, a wonderful thing occurred.

As we slept (or should have been sleeping) on Sunday morning last, all the world agreed that we should have an extra hour of life. “Fall back,” the clocks were told and suddenly it was an hour before. It cost nothing, and it could be a game-changer for people who are only now realizing that classes are held for a reason, however obscure.

So it was on Sun, Nov. 2, we had an extra hour in which to do all those things we intended to do, but never managed to actually, you know, like totally do. It is as if time has been manufactured which, according to Einstein, is pretty tough.

The free hour results from the habit of the human body to establish rhythms. The “extra hour” is an illusion, but the fact that your body is ready to get up at 6 a.m. instead of your usual 7 a.m. can be quite real.

The clock says it’s too early, but you want to be awake. So, if your body keeps reporting for work two hours before your first class instead of the usual one hour, why not put it to work?

Some folks, used to lying around until seven before making a mad dash to campus, can find the temptation of the mattress and pillow just too much. Young people need more sleep than aging professors — it’s a fact. The tendency of young people to stay up until 2 a.m. for reasons which defy sensible analysis just makes it tougher. Binge watching on Netflix, eh?

What if your body compels you to start the day an hour earlier? I’ve already talked to some people who are facing this issue and treating it like a problem. It isn’t: it’s a gift.

Spend the extra hour trying to decipher the notes you took while asleep in Humanities. An hour spent decoding (“in 32 ac the empor gluteus maximus defats hazel”) and looking up the right answer can be uplifting.

For a change, appear on time just to see what the professor does when you answer up with a cheery “Here!” That should be fun.

As you wolf down the Frosted Mini-Wheats, cast a hurried eye over the chapter you haven’t yet read. (Online gaming ran long, eh?)

You don’t need to memorize it; just get an idea. Look at some chapter end questions and write down something you’d like to know.

If a discussion breaks out in class, pitch your question to the professor. Definitely fun. Think of it: evidence that you looked at a chapter before the lecture. It is epic.

The professors will talk about you at the annual professor picnic. It may even bring a tear to the eye.

Look: the first few hours of the day are the peak performance times for your brain. Why waste that power listening to a lecture (or faking it)? Use that first hour to acquire the info you need.

Get some breakfast before the toast gets soggy; read a newspaper or outline a chapter while you sip your coffee. Your body is telling you it is ready to do this thing. Why deny reality? You could add a full point to your GPA here in the last six weeks.

“Spring forward,” they say, and “Fall back.” You may have fallen back into the gift of the most valuable hour in your day.

Say, “thank you,” and get going.

Column by Robert Valentine, Senior lecturer of advertising