College students are generally considered to be a busy group with sparse free time. With limited quantities of it, college students must carefully decide what they choose to do during any allotted amount of time. The DrumBeat collected the answers of seven TJC students about what activities they do and compared to the respes to previous studies.
Using data from the American Time Use Survey, a subset of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Full-time college students ages 18 to 24 spend the majority of their hours sleeping (9 hours per day), followed by 3.9 hours for education and 3.9 hours for leisure activities/sports, one hour per day ‘eating and drinking,’ and 0.8 hours per day ‘grooming’ including washing and dressing.” This data helps establish an idea of how much time students have at their disposal and what it is used for. The data implies students spend an almost equal amount of time in class as they do trying to find ways to relax. This also helps in determining the amount of time students have to spend. Taking the nine hours of sleep into account, students are left with 15 hours to do their daily activities. Some students’ leisure and education time can blend together with extracurricular activities.
“I like to be a part of organizations and especially attend sporting events, to support our Apaches, cause I mean that’s why a lot of people are here to have that college experience,” said Raffe Andrewartha, a sophomore criminal justice major.
Adding extracurricular activities to the mix can often make leisure less of an individual decision and more of an idea centered around the needs and schedule of an organization. Things like Student Senate, clubs or sports can make the life of a student much more reliant on things that are not in the student’s control. One TJC student said most of their time is spent being a part of an organization.
“I’m a cheerleader so most of the time I’m at practice and I like to hang out with my friends,” said Amya Powell, a freshman business major.
Time management can become more cumbersome when you are trying to work around the schedule and responsibilities that come with being a member of something such as a cheer team. Extracurricular activities are not the only things that can impact a student’s free time. Sometimes work outside of school can have an effect on a student’s ability to relax.
Sarath Nonis, Melodie Philhours and Gail Hudson, professors of business at Arkansas State University, conducted a study on undergraduate students of business and marketing. In that study it was reported that students spent an average of 30.03 hours a week preparing for class, doing homework and projects related to class, and studying for class. That is over an entire day spent just doing work outside of class. Considering that 63 hours of the week are not usable due to the daily nine hours of sleep, losing out on another 30 seems like a lot bigger of a deal, especially since these two numbers combine for almost four days worth of time.
Four out of the seven TJC students interviewed mentioned studying or homework in their responses. This shows students can sometimes associate their free time with things related to class due the rigorous nature of courses and the work assigned outside of the classroom. ERIC, an online library of education research and information sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences of the U.S. Department of Education, ran a survey asking 582 college students how much free time they have. Of the 582 respondents, 57 answered less than one hour, 147 answered between one and two hours, 219 answered between two and three hours, and 159 answered four hours and above. These numbers mean more than 72% of students get less than four hours of free time per day. One TJC shared their on-campus experience.
“I’m an RA [Resident Assistant] so I’m always in the dorms, and I’ll just be with my residents, watching movies or studying,” said Serafina Vasquez, a sophomore nursing major. Most students do not find themselves being an on-campus resident assistant, but a lot of students do deal with an increasingly limited amount of free time at their disposal, but some students still manage to have fun.
“I like to listen to music. I listen to a lot of R&B. I have a lot of shows that I watch like I’m a ‘90 Day Fiancé’ fan, and I do my homework I guess if I have any homework,” said Venecia Medford, a freshman dental hygiene major.
A healthy balance can create situations like these where the student is able to accomplish their educational goals and still enjoy the time they spend outside of the classroom with a mix of activities.
This article is solely commentary.