Column: Coping with time restraints in college isn’t easy

In Opinion
A male student walks on a tight rope while balancing books on his head
(Danielle Evangelista / Daily Titan)

I would like to believe that after starting my fourth year of college, things would get easier with a routine of what to do at school. However, college has blindsided me again, and the workload now leaves no time for myself to really go off-schedule, unless I want to fail.

College is supposed to be a time where people develop their passions and find out their own self-determination, where we can explore and discover ourselves, but that time for exploration is getting stifled as schedules become more demanding.

This semester, I’m on campus Monday through Thursday, from at 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Finding parking and leaving campus adds yet another hour everyday, and plus an hour of commuting, I spend a total of approximately 24 hours on campus every week.

I also work four to five days a week at a McDonalds in Garden Grove. It’s not glamorous, but it keeps food in my belly and those $100 books paid. In the morning I work at McDonald’s in Garden Grove from six to ten. I barely have any time to go home, change and leave once again to attend class.

Keeping track, I spend a minimum of 40 hours at school and work each week. Now add in studying, and homework, and all auxiliary aspects of school that fall outside the realm of what’s spent on campus, and every minute of my life seems occupied.

There is just too much going on for anyone at school to retain the information given. Learning is difficult when there are several subjects a day with different ways of analyzing their content, and so there may be more gaps in learning.

Students spend three and a half hours per day on educational activities, according to a 2016 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That leaves little wiggle room between classes to study an adequate amount for each.

I know my social life is getting smaller each year and I’m finding less time to relax and unwind from everything. The same thing is happening to my friends; it’s hard finding a time to get together because everyone’s schedule is different — you’d have more luck winning a lottery than getting together a bunch of tired, busy college students.

It’s also making it hard to study. Some instructors have the audacity to suggest two hours of studying for every hour of class, but the fact is that I just don’t have the quality time to drill down readings and focus on learning the material.

I have days where I spend hours doing homework and studying for quizzes and forums, and the second those are done any information I analyzed gets purged from my memory because I’m tired from an onslaught of responsibility and the sponge that used to be my brain can’t absorb more information.

It’s scary realizing that I don’t learn as much as I once did, that I sink into video games not to enjoy them, but to forget for five seconds that I’m an increasingly sleep-deprived student trying to make everything work.

Were it not for the continued support of my friends, family, and ever-amazing girlfriend and her family to drag me out of that hole of despair, I don’t think I could stomach time slipping out like a broken hourglass.

I know that there are others reading this who are in similar predicament, and for those of you like me, I get it.

I get every worry and cold feeling of not having enough time. I can’t say it’ll get easier, I’ll be honest in that sense. But what I can tell you is that your time becomes more precious because of it. The hours you spend with people you care about get that much sweeter, and they will know it.

Don’t try to do as I did and temporarily escape from the struggle, because it’ll catch up to you. What you can gain from facing that broken hourglass is the strength and mental fortitude to make those seconds count. In the end, it’s the moments of peace you want to work towards.

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