Your Life by Semester Hours
“How many hours are you taking?” is the college version of “how’s life?” -- too many hours, and you’re swamped in school work. Too few, and you’re floating on large rafts of free time, and you can only take so many naps.
But class hours are only one part of student life. Other commitments take up much more of your time during an average week. The following list will help you plan your schedule for real life, as well as class. Keep a running tally and then look up where you stand on the chart at the bottom.
1. Friends and/or significant other
Relationships are great--they’re fun, relaxing, and essential for the continuation of the human species. They’re also one of the most time consuming aspects of your life. Having a boyfriend might be comparable to adding 8 hours to your time schedule. Friendships also take time to maintain and enjoy, and making time to hang out with a couple of friends each week could add up to 10 hours to the tally.
2. A part time job or internship
Working hours are probably the most defined of the outside hours--a part-time student job adds up to 19 hours to your hour count. Don’t forget to factor in travel time if you work off-campus.
3. Labs, ensembles, and other academic time-sinks
They’re classes, technically, but labs and other similar classes skew your hour count in a big way. Even if they’re only one or two hours of credit, you’ll probably spend at least four to six hours a week in each lab. This is for the best, since there is a max number of hours you can take per semester, but it’s easy to discount these and not give yourself enough (personal) credit for a semester!
4. Student orgs
Whether you’re rushing a spirit group, playing in the Longhorn Band, or joining the Natural Sciences Council, student orgs take up a lot of your time. To calculate the hour count for your activity, think about a typical week. How many meetings do you have? What outside events will you be attending? Is there a point requirement? Note: activities often become more time-intensive the longer you stay in them.
5. Health and fitness
Making time to stay healthy adds around 3-6 hours a week. These hours might come from running, working out at Gregory, or attending a couple of yoga classes, but they are an important part of your life’s hour count.
6. Little things can add up too.
Smaller commitments like owning a pet, keeping up your mad ping pong skills, or watering your extensive collection of succulents also add to the tally. Each of these could total around 30 minutes to an hour.
To put this in context, there are 168 hours in a week. Around 56 of those should be sleeping, if you follow the recommendation of the National Sleep Foundation, so that leaves 112 hours for activities. A typical workweek is 40 hours. And if you’re like me, you probably want a few hours of downtime.
These hour counts are approximate, and everyone has a different amount of hours that works for them, so take the chart with a grain of salt. But the next time your middle-aged aunt tsk-tsk’s you for taking 12 class hours, rest easy knowing that you’re not a slacker -- you’re taking 65 life hours!