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Part of Western Governors University

December 23, 2014

Hark! Night Owls sing of late-night studies.

Sage mascot logo

WGU’s mascot is Sage the Night Owl, and he certainly seems to resonate with our student body. After all, while WGU students don’t have to log in to class and can study whenever and wherever they are able, it seems the majority have very busy lives in the daytime and find themselves getting most of their schoolwork done at night.

But of course, with a student body as diverse as WGU’s, “schoolwork at night” takes on different looks for different students. There are as many different ways to be a Night Owl as there are Night Owls (53,000-plus at last count)!

So this holiday season, we thought we’d take a look at some of the different ways earning a degree as a Night Owl translates into reality—as described by a few holiday classics:

Silent night. The students who enjoy this sort of heavenly peace have a rare gift—and they appreciate it! Other family members are tucked quietly in bed; maybe some soft music is playing in the background; all is calm, the house is quiet, and conditions are ideal for studying.

There arose such a clatter. More common than the silent-night scenario, a clatter can arise at any moment. You never know when the baby will wake up crying; sometimes the teenager will stay out late, distracting you from your studies with unplanned worry; maybe neighbors drop by for a visit or a friend calls with a flat tire, begging you for a ride and your tire iron. Developing a strategy to deal with the unexpected but inevitable clatters is key to being a successful Night Owl.

If only in my dreams. For students living in this reality, study time is broken down into 15- or 30-minute increments throughout the day, rather than a nice block of nighttime schoolwork. In the end, it all adds up to the same 15 to 20 hours of studying a week, but the idea of a few uninterrupted hours late at night would be a dream come true for some Night Owls.

Baby, it’s cold outside. For these Night Owls, the cold, dark night is the perfect time to bundle up inside with an e-book and some flashcards. Freed from the distractions of the day, with nothing outside beckoning them to procrastinate, buckling down and getting some serious studying done brings comfort and joy to this group.

Settled down for a long winter’s nap. For the true morning person: Being sound asleep by 10:30 p.m. and waking up to study at 4 a.m. sharp is much more appealing—or more practical—for many Night Owls. There’s no late-night schoolwork for this group. Less-nocturnal arrangements have been made.

Out caroling. But most often, the reality is “a little of all the above”—closer to what WGU student Dustin describes as “one of those medleys, where the song changes every 15 seconds.” Successful Night Owls have a preferred style, a planned approach, and a defined schedule—and the adaptability to throw it all out the window and sing a new tune when the situation calls for it.

Which holiday classic describes your approach to the late-night study session?  

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