An underrated aspect of college life is how much free time you actually have compared to your high school days. While this may seem insignificant on the surface, having so much free time plays a larger role in your college life than you probably realize. Let’s discuss why there is often this huge disparity in amount of free time in college compared to high school, and what it means for your own self-development and self-improvement.
Back in your high school days, you typically were constantly in class for the entire day, save for an hour for lunch and potentially an hour for study hall. But even then, you are always doing something while at school. Couple this with the fact that a lot of high school students partake in afterschool activities such as sports or clubs, many of which meet every day after school, and you can easily see just how packed your overall schedule can be.
On the other hand, college is much more fluid when it comes to school schedules, leaving you various pockets of free time throughout the day (you may even end up with absolutely no class on certain weekdays depending on how you design your schedule). And while you may be involved in some extracurricular activities on campus, they typically don’t dominate large chunks of your day, in part because such gatherings need to accommodate all participants. With everyone’s schedule vastly different from one another, most extracurricular activities need to be kept short and infrequent to accommodate everyone. Add in the fact that after school, your “home” is typically right on campus and therefore just a few minutes away means significantly less time spent commuting for most people, which therefore creates more free time for yourself when you do get home.
So what does free time mean for you as a college student? Well obviously you need to spend some of that time studying, or at the very least finishing up your assignments before the next class. But unless you are an extreme overachiever, you can typically accomplish all of this with just an hour or two every day, leaving with you with plenty of free time still. Most people typically will end up allocating that time to getting extra sleep, or lounging around doing nothing. And while this may seem like a decent use of your free time, you can do so much more if you make a concerted effort.
There are all sorts of small things that while seeming insignificant, are actually very important to your overall wellbeing. Things like calling your family and seeing how they are doing, and just as importantly letting them know how you are doing. Or applying for jobs and/or internships little by little. Or simply cleaning your room. All of these things have a key commonality in that they all are not required at all in the short term, meaning you can easily get away with not doing any of these things. But these things all have clearly inherent value to them, making them important to do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve neglected making my weekly call to my mother every Sunday to check in with her. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, it not only made her worry, but also made her sad every time I failed to call her. Or if you fail to apply for jobs when you have the time, you may end up falling behind in the job hunting process later on. Even when it comes to a messy room, failing to clean it on a regular basis simply makes it more difficult to clean when you finally are forced to get it cleaned.
There are plenty of other small examples of things that you can do to effectively make use of your free time that were not mentioned above. And although these things may seem insignificant, they are assuredly worth doing for various reasons. So next time you plan to use your free time while at college to just sleep or lounge around, keep in mind all of the better things you could be doing and take what little time is required to actually do them. You will thank yourself later.