College students burdened by strenuous time expectations

College students endure a lot over the course of their academic careers. We are taught from freshman year to master the fickle art of time management. Our advisers and mentors insist that pinpointing exactly where it is that our time goes during the week is vital to doing well academically, physically and emotionally.

After all, there is nothing more stressful than being pressed for time. Not having the time to relax and reflect, holistically speaking, is detrimental to personal growth.

There are 168 hours in a week. If a student is taking a full course load—5 classes, 15 credit hours—then that number drops to 153 hours. Assume that this student commutes to work and school for an hour each day. That is 15 hours a week spent on traveling, which leaves 138 hours to work with.

If, by some miracle, this student gets seven hours of sleep a night, 35 hours a week, then we are looking at 103 hours. The student also works 30 hours a week to pay tuition and to cover commuting expenses, which leaves 73 hours.

The student spends 10 hours a week handling on-campus extracurriculars for the sake of boosting their resume—63. The student spends one hour a day running errands and doing chores, which leaves us with 56 hours.

The student needs socialization, time spent with family and friends in order to keep sane, perhaps 15 hours a week. The student limits themselves to one hour of Internet and television a day and one hour of grooming (bathing, getting ready, etc.) a day.

The number we have now is 27 hours. 27 hours that, by necessity, must be distributed to studying and doing homework. The number of hours spent on coursework should ideally be double the number of credit hours taken, which in this case is 30.

The student in question has negative 3 hours during the week to breathe. The student depicted in this scenario is doing everything they can to get by, without succumbing to the stress of having no actual time to themselves. And perhaps part of the issue is prioritization, but professors should also be conscious of all of the aspects that require a student’s time.

If a professor expects a student to spend triple the credit hours studying for the course, then the fault lies with the professor. If students are taught time management and prioritization, then in that same vein, professors should be more mindful of the kinds of stresses students endure outside of the classroom.