Do College Students Have Enough Time?

Be honest: more than once during your academic school years, you have had to turn down a party, an extracurricular activity, or even hanging out with friends because you simply do not have the time. Between school, work, extracurriculars, and fulfilling the basic human needs like sleeping and eating, students do not have enough hours in the day.

Most Millikin students take at least eighteen credit hours; many push the limit and take more than that. If you are not in one of your many classes per day, you are probably working on assignments for said classes. A common “rule of thumb” in college is that for each hour a student spends in class, they should spend at least two to three hours. If you do the math, that equates to little to no free time for students, especially those with a heavy course load.

Many students have to support themselves by working while going to school. We are the generation that lived through the 2008 recession and we remember vividly. Having a large amount of classes, and, in turn, a large amount of assignments, leaves students with scarcely any time to earn income. On-campus jobs are always an option and some of those graciously allow students to work on assignments as long as they complete their jobs. But the lack of hours and pay can take a toll on the students’ feeling of worth. 

Many students look elsewhere for employment off-campus, which comes with a host of other concerns: needing to get there on time after classes, paying for gas, and balancing their time between work and study. Luckily, my boss kindly works with my school schedule on my off-campus job.

But even so, my place of employment is only open during typical business hours which severely impedes the amount of hours I can work in conjunction with my school schedule. It can feel like a no-win situation for us students; either earn a lot of money and struggle in school, or earn less money and struggle in life, but be a good student.

There is also the conflict of extra curricular activities. Millikin, for example, has over a hundred groups and organizations that students are able, and encouraged, to join. Students are always encouraged to be as involved as possible within their four or more years of college for a multitude of reasons. And that is most certainly a good thing; organizations such as sororities and fraternities can create networking relationships and lifelong friendships that the student would otherwise not experience. 

With that being said, many organizations require a time commitment that most students are unable to give. And unfortunately, that can result in a huge case of FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out], so many students feel pressured to give the time that they may not necessarily have to give. I can honestly say that being a part of just three organizations outside of my studies was too much, causing me to have to decide which one to drop.

It can be lonely being a student. So much time is devoted to your studies that you have to squeeze in time to spend with your friends and family. Often my mom will text me and say, “Do you remember me?”, and that is when I know I need to take a step back for a moment. 

It is so easy to get swept up in all the collegiate lifestyle. Friends outside of school almost fall to the wayside at times because they may not understand the amount of academic rigor you must put forth to stay afloat. 

And that is not even mentioning romantic relationships. Dating someone who is also a student can be tricky to work out schedule-wise, but the same can be said when dating someone who is not a student. Luckily, though, we have the power to stay in touch constantly via technology. 

The academic pressure to succeed can also affect students adversely in the form of lack of sleep. I personally cannot count the times that a friend has told me that they stayed up all night to complete an assignment, or that I have overheard students saying it to others. 

Often, I have heard students announce to their friends how little sleep they got the night before, often less than five if they had not stayed up all night. Even when I was a freshman at another university, I experienced this. My roommate would stay up until her eyes would not stay open, sleep for two or three hours, and go back to her schoolwork when she woke up.

Another issue that arises is mental health. All of the aforementioned things are definitely enough to warrant stress. Students in the present day secondary education realm suffer from the highest rates of anxiety, depression, and overall general stress. 

College counselors are at an all-time high usage rate; they can scarcely keep up. But what more can be expected from students who daily face issues spanning from the pressures of social media culture to relationship troubles to the increase in academic rigor to school shootings? Not to mention the pressures from the general climate of the world today, with tensions rising every day.

So, take care of yourself. It is tough out there for a college kid these days. Self-care is so important in this stage of our lives. Take a breath, read a book, take a nap, go get ice cream. If you are struggling, talk to someone. 

We are all in this together.