Home > Resources > Campus Life > College Lifestyle > Friends, School, Sleep. Pick Two

Friends, School, Sleep. Pick Two

It was 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, time to sit through another "History of the Andean Countries of South America" class. I don’t think that the professor even cared about this stuff. I hadn’t slept much the previous night thanks to preparing for an upcoming exam, and listening to him drone on and on was painful. I was just about to fall into a daze when my eyes fell upon a backpack pin.

"Friends, School, Sleep: Pick Two", it read.

Never had I read words more true. There are so many hours and, somehow, so little time. Listening in on a few college conversations will make sleep deprivation and time management complaints sound banal. So where does all this time go? You might say that this is just a sign of the times. Job competition is fierce and you have to excel at school to make it.

But are we really spending that much time studying? In 2004, the National Survey of Student Engagement surveyed 620,000 students at 850 four-year universities to find out how college students really spent their days. Surprisingly, the study found that the average full-time college freshman only studied an average of 13 hours a week. Yes, freshman classes are usually easier, but hours spent on schoolwork weren’t much different for older students. By senior year, students reported studying only an hour more per week. In fact, only 11 percent of surveyed students reported studying for more than 25 hours.

According to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the average college student gets six hours of sleep a night. Once you combine time spent on sleep with that spent on studying, the top 11 percent are still left with 101 free hours. One hundred fourteen free hours are still available for the average student. If you factor in the 15 average in-class hours, you have 86 and 99 spare hours, respectively. That’s a lot of time. So why do we always feel rushed? Let’s break down where all this time goes:

Student Time Usage: Hours Spent Per Week

  First-Year Students Seniors
  Part-time Full-time Part-time Full-time
Studying 9 13 10 14
Working on-campus 2 3 3 4
Working off-campus 18 5 20 10
Participating in co-curricular activities 1 5 2 5
Relaxing and socializing 10 12 10 11
Caring for dependants 13 2 12 4
Commuting to class 5 4 5 5

That takes care of many daily activities. When you take into account time spent on eating, exercising, phone conversations, showering, changing, styling hair, e-mailing, washing dishes, cleaning the home, shopping, paying bills, and sitting on your bed for 10 minutes before stepping out, your free time shrinks considerably. Before you know it, it’s late again. And even without an all-nighter in the cards, you know you’ll be tired.

Unless…nevermind. No, I really think we should. Grab your eye masks everyone: We’re skipping class and sleeping in tomorrow. It’s about time we made some time.

Latest College & Financial Aid News

COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Students with Disabilities

April 9, 2020

by Susan Dutca-Lovell

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities quickly transitioned from in-person instruction to online learning, inadvertently overlooking the needs of students with disabilities and "placing them on the backburner 'en masse.'" While eductors have been transferring two months' worth of lesson plans to digital format, disabled students have been left without adequate digital accessibility to succeed in the unprecedented and current remote learning environment. [...]

Coronavirus Puts Higher Education in Perilous Position

April 7, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Higher education has long been seen as a pillar in American life, as an essential element of our economic system and society. But the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the underlying health conditions of this cultural institution. Many colleges and universities have been struggling to meet the needs of students while also keeping themselves above water financially. While we hope that our lives will return to normal when this crisis is over, it is hard to imagine that higher education will ever be the same. [...]

Scholarship Deadlines Extended Due to COVID-19

April 2, 2020

by Izzy Hall

Just as schools have closed their doors due to coronavirus, charities and non-profit organizations have had to shutter down. While they might suspend board meetings, community fundraisers or award ceremonies, chances are they haven't shut down their scholarship offerings - in fact, many non-profits have extended their scholarship application windows from mid- or late March into April, May or even June. If you've been applying for scholarships this spring and missed out on some March or early April deadlines, check your account - you may find that some scholarships have had their due dates pushed back, giving you more time to submit an application. [...]