Fresno State freshman Kaitlyn Williams has her alarm set at 5 a.m. every morning. When it goes off, she grabs the materials that she prepared the night before and heads out the door about 5:30 a.m.
Williams is one of the few students on campus who has to make the trek for classes that begin before 7 a.m.
She walks 1 ½ miles from Cedar Avenue to First and Dakota avenues, where she waits for the No. 28 bus, which usually arrives around 6 a.m. The bus takes her to her first class on campus, a physical training requirement for the Air Force ROTC, which begins at 6:30 a.m.
“It was hard at first, but I definitely adapted to it, and Air Force ROTC is what I want to do so it was easy to make that sacrifice and change,” Williams said.
Other sacrifices Williams has made include not going out on weekends and not staying up with friends all night.
For cadets like Williams, the physical training course is a mandatory course taken until graduation, said Capt. Darrin Eckles, an operations flight commander and associate professor in the department of aerospace studies.
Eckles said the course prepares cadets for the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA), a test where cadets are scored on running, pushups, situps and their waist measurements.
Cadets must meet the minimum scores for the PFA before they qualify for the Air Force ROTC scholarship.
To help cadets meet those goals, the program added an additional day of physical training last semester.
“A lot of people said it wouldn’t work, and it turned out that it really did work,” Eckles said. “So last semester, we did Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This semester, we switched to Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.”
Williams’ morning routine may help her with her other classes in nursing.
Dr. Mary D. Barakzai, professor and chair of the Fresno State nursing department, said 7 a.m. classes are a way to “indoctrinate” students.
“The first semester is very hard for people,” Barakzai said, “They have to really prioritize, and if they don’t, they don’t make it. So if they have to get up at 7 a.m., 6 a.m. in the morning to get into class, they just do it.”
Barakzai said that waking up early is a way of life for nurses because they need to get patients’ reports and look at the charts before they go out and see the patient.
Williams said she would rather have morning classes than night classes because she likes to have her nights free.
“It kind of sucks at first, but I prefer it rather than night classes because I would rather be done with school by midday and have the rest of the night for myself,” Williams said.
When asked if she had any tips for waking up early, Williams said that it is all about discipline.