Just How Much Free Time Do You Have in College?

A college guy looking at his planner to check his next agenda after class, with his classmates in the background, preparing to leave class.

Among the many questions we all face before packing up and heading to college is the question of what daily life as a university student will look like. We’ve seen it in movies, television shows, and heard about it from our older peers, but we’re all still dying to know how much free time you’ll have in college. 

Well, there is no need to go in blind or frantically search the Internet for answers. We’ve got the answers right here for you. So, read on to put those burning questions to rest.

Debunking Myths about College Students and Free Time

When asking how much free time you have in college, many misconceptions come to mind. Before you hit those books, let’s debunk some important ones right off the bat. 

The ‘Working Student’ Myth

Myth: Students who work perform worse in an academic setting than students who don’t. 

Truth: Despite the notion that any job interferes with academics, researchers found that time spent working or studying does not directly affect grades. 

The ‘Social Media Is Ruining Everything’ Myth

Myth: Social media and the development of online networks are damaging to college students and their time.

Truth: Experts studied the essential nature of social media for modern-day students and found that online social networks are not destroying our lives, contrary to the boomer mentality. We just need to be responsible in the ways we go about it. 

The ‘Free Time Doesn’t Exist In College Life’ Myth

Myth: In college, your course load and full-time or part-time job will take over your life and allow no room for free time. 

Truth: Not only does the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report a breakdown of college students’ time, proving that free time exists, but more importantly, everyone’s college experience will be different. There are plenty of ways to create free time. We’ll address these tips and tricks in a moment!

What Does the Average Student Spend Their Time Doing?

A college girl wearing a pink top, holding a pen in her hand and studying her notes, while planning her schedule for the week.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks down how college kids spend their time. There are several factors that dictate how much free time you’ll receive. Here are the primary considerations:

Will You Be Working?

As tuition is on the rise, many students turn to a full or part-time job for income. This, of course, takes up a lot of time, depending on your schedule. But remember that just because you have a job doesn’t mean you will have no free time at all. 

Will You Be Playing a Sport?

There is a HUGE difference in time commitment between casual intramural teams compared to division one sports.

How Many Course Credits Are You Planning to Take And What Is Your Major?

If you’re planning to go to med school or study any hard science for that matter, you may have less flexibility when it comes to required courses. You might be forced to take an 8:00 AM organic chemistry class. Oof. 

Are You a Social Butterfly?

Think about how much time you want to interact with other students. Are you the type to join several organizations and make friends right away? Or are you more shy and content with a few close friends? 

This will determine how much time you spend with others based on opportunities that arise and your commitments.

4 Life-Changing Tips to Use Your Time in College More Efficiently

College students sitting on a grassy lawn, studying and multitasking to meet the demands of their week's schedule.

Establish a Routine That Makes Sense

Forget what you know about the “right” way to have a routine. It’s time to think about what works best for you. Take the time to notice and write down when you’re most inspired, most energized, and most focused, and then plan your schedule accordingly. 

Reward Yourself with Treats

Be sure to reward yourself when you stick to those routines. Pick anything you will look forward to, such as Thai food for dinner or a night out with friends. 

Use Time Blocking

Use your calendar to block out time for things that you don’t have to begin at an exact time. This one is for our procrastinators out there. 

Get Creative with Technology

There are many apps for your phone these days that are meant to assist you in focusing. Check out these popular ones: 

  • Forest
  • SelfControl
  • Serene
  • Freedom
  • Cold Turkey Blocker
  • LeechBlock

6 Worthwhile Tips on Using Your Free Time in College

A college girl wearing a plaid shirt and holding her notebook, while smiling and looking around campus to see what college life has to offer.

See What Campus Life Has to Offer 

These years will come and go in a flash. So, as soon as you arrive, be sure to check out all the resources your school has to offer. This could be sports leagues, a recreation center, internships, or other programs. You need to see all your options before deciding how to best spend your free time. 

Engage in Physical Activity

You can’t go wrong with letting out that built-up energy.

Start Scrapbooking or Have a Memory Wall

Track your best moments as you live them with a scrapbook or a homemade picture wall collage. 

Explore Your Town

Don’t just stick to the campus area. Discover your favorite downtown restaurant or the best dive bar karaoke in town.

Attend Those Student Events

This is something you’ll truly miss after you leave college. Get all the free swag and food you can. 

Run for Student Government

If you’re the type of person who can’t just sit around and relax too long, consider student government. It could really boost your resume, and you can make new friends. 

Final Thoughts

No matter what you decide to do with your free time, remember to let loose. College is a stressful time, so make the most of any ounce of leisure you can get. You won’t regret it!

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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