College expectations leaves too little free time

As a college student in my final year, something I’ve heard a lot is, “You have to get involved on campus!” And while this might seem like valuable advice, it’s a lot harder than it seems.

The average student takes at least 12-16 credits a semester. That’s four to five classes, if not more. In my case, five. Which means I’m in class from 8:30 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon.

On top of that, most students have to work to pay for books, food, living off campus or even just to have spending money. In a lot of cases, students also have to work to pay for tuition.

I also work. So, when that’s factored in, I’m completely busy until at least 5 most nights. I have an oncampus job but also obviously work for the newspaper.

When I get home, the last thing on my mind is going out to a tie-dye event to support resident housing or whatever program is going on.

I have to spend whatever free time I have studying and doing homework for the classes I was just in all day.

This is less about the organizations holding events and more about all that college students are expected to be able to get done.

I’ve talked about it before but every semester it seems to get worse. The credits keep getting higher and with that the hours of work I have to put in gets higher and higher.

SVSU recommends two hours of studying for each credit. The lowest credit level I’m taking is four. That’s eight hours of studying for one class. That equals at least 32 hours of studying each week. I get that it’s a full course load but that’s almost as many hours as a full-time job.

How am I ever supposed to find the time to work, go to class, study and go to events?

I’d love to be able to go to every event that’s being held on campus. They plan all these great things to be able to meet new people and have some fun, but if I want to be able to do well in my classes, all of my free time has to go to that.

Not to mention they encourage you to join clubs on top of going to events. Now, I know I’m in The Vanguard, which could be classified as a club, but that’s the most I can handle. Even if I wanted to join something else, I don’t have the capacity.

In my major, I’m also expected to work on a research project at some point in my college career. But I don’t know when they expect students to be able to find the time.

Yes, adults work 40 hours a week and have social life but they aren’t also expected to attend events, work on research and study for four hours every night. It’s not full of homework and trying to get ahead for the next week. Their time off is actually time off.

Yes, college is important and so is studying, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of student’s mental health. Equating school with a full-time job is something that needs to change.

Alyssa McMillan

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