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Do College Students have Loads of Free Time?

By Jan Abel

Published December 2, 2021 in The Burg

Hi, Jan here! My roommate and I the other day were discussing the different projects

and papers we were needing to finish before we finally made it to winter break. If I’m

remembering correctly, I have four essays and a portfolio due, and they have two papers and two art pieces due. This is all on top of the actual final exams, and any other daily worksheets!

Yet the two of us still get comments every once in a while talking about how oh, you’re

not in classes eight hours a day, you probably have loads of time! I think the thing people don’t realize is that when kids are in classes for eight hours a day, they have the ability to relearn things, do homework in class, as well as walk through things with the teachers. Don’t get me wrong, high schoolers still do a lot of things, I just wanted to clear that up, before it made me sound like I’m pitting two groups against each other. We both have homework, we both have the right to complain.

Alright, I may not be a math major, but let’s see if I can do some simple equations here.

There are 120 hours in a five-day school week. I have 14 hours per week in lectures and

classes, so that takes me down to 106. Let’s pretend I actually have a sleep schedule, and I get eight hours per night. Take off another 40, and we’re at 66. Most days I do homework in between classes for two hours, then again from about 5 to 10 p.m. So 7 hours of outside classwork for three days, and 4 for the other, which equals 41 hours left. Let’s take off 15 hours just to make things even, and calculate any hygiene things, walking, eating breaks, calling mom, laundry, etc. Now we're 26! For those of you that have read a few of these before, you know that I’m involved in all kinds of extracurriculars and such that meet every week or so. Rough estimating all the meeting times, and me doing outside work on those, since I’m an executive, let’s say 9 hours. Now we’re left with 17. Break that up between five days, and we have about a three-and-a-half hour span per day (more or less) that we can do what we want, whether that be: reading, writing, going on walks, watching tv, etc. And this isn’t even calculating in other people’s majors, or if someone is working (part-time or full-time)!

I guess my point is, saying that college students have loads of free time is definitely not a true thing, so every time I see it, I can’t help but laugh. Don’t get me wrong, I know everyone in adulthood is always working, but the thing to remember is that when you clock out, for a majority of jobs, you don’t have to think about work. I live at my school. Students don’t just quit being students when the clock strikes 3.

So I suppose my question for all of you: how do you spend those 120 hours?

I hope you all are staying warm as we’re making our way into the winter season, and I

will talk to you all very soon!

(Jan is originally from Galesburg and currently writes a frequent column for The Burg newspaper with her life as a student at Monmouth College.)

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