Riley offers advice on waking up in time for class, dealing with people slow to respond to emails

Riley Brands

Editor’s note: This is an advice column written by in-house know-it-all Riley Brands. All answers are based on personal experience. Brands is not a licensed professional. Questions for Brands can be sent to [email protected].

Dearest Riley,
Waking up in time for class has always been a huge struggle for me. I set multiple alarms every night and place my phone out of reach so I can’t turn it off in my sleep, but nothing I try seems to work. Most of my classes have strict attendance policies, so if I can’t pull it together, I fear my grades will suffer. Do you have any tips for an habitual over-sleeper?

One More Snooze

Dear One More Snooze,
I’m not sure if placing your phone out of reach is the best idea. You say you’re afraid you’ll turn it off in your sleep, but has that ever actually happened before? If so, that’s both impressive and unfortunate. If nothing wakes you up, you’re just going to have to work with your natural sleep cycle. You can only stay asleep for so long, so the earlier you get to sleep, the better your chances of waking up in time for class. Of course, this is only possible if you finish all your homework before, say, midnight, so cut out the distractions and start giving yourself time limits on assignments so they don’t drag on into the night. 

Dearest Riley,
My boss, who typically responds to my emails quickly, has not responded to two important emails in more than 24 hours. Should I be worried? Should I send another email? Should I just wait?

Impatient Inbox Checker

Dear Impatient Inbox Checker,
Email etiquette is an obsession of mine. I always try to respond to emails as quickly as I can, even if it’s just to confirm that I received them. Because of the importance I place on promptness, I tend to worry when someone is unusually slow to reply. My mind begins to race as I imagine all the nasty, cutting remarks they could be thinking up. For instance, a few weeks ago I sent a two-page summary to my thesis adviser, expecting a fairly quick turnaround time. But after a week had gone by, the panic set in and I began to expect a completely demolished draft. I very nervously emailed her again and it turned out she had no comments for me and simply forgot she hadn’t emailed me back. All that to say there’s probably no reason to worry. If she’s usually quick to respond, she probably had something come up or just has a backlog of emails to catch up on. Since it’s an important matter, I’d say wait another day and then send a gentle reminder, perhaps with a delivery receipt, and if that fails, call or text her to get this sorted out.