Greetings fellow students!
When I was applying to college, I didn’t really know where I wanted to go, but I definitely thought about what goes on during a college student’s day. I mean, the minimum “credit hours” you had to take to be a full-time student is 12. If each class was three credit hours, that meant class met about three hours per week. If I had 12 hours of class a week, that was basically less than two full days of a high school week! You may see how I was confused on what people spent their time doing.
Anyways, pursuant to my confusion as a bright-eyed high school student, I thought it would be good to clear things up for anyone reading this. So let’s go through my day (or weekdays) as a senior in college.
For me, my real week begins Sunday morning at 10 a.m. I work at The Daily Illini—our independent student newspaper—and as you can see above by the large amount of light purple, I’m there a lot. Sundays are a big day, because we have “production,” which is basically editing stories, designing pages, and sending the next day’s paper to the printer. The night before I’ll prepare my food I’m bringing for the day, and then I’ll head in at 10 a.m. for a meeting. Afterward, I’ll assign stories and answer questions, help with headlines, etc. Eventually, the full pages (edited, designed, and nicely laid out on a big 11X17 piece of paper) will come to me for one last edit from copy (my department). Believe it or not, it takes until about 6 p.m. to do all of this. So that’s one day out of the week, already.
Usually Sunday evenings I either spend meal prepping for the week (a very useful thing to do with a busy schedule) or any homework I haven’t previously finished over the weekend.
Ah, Monday. Ironically, one of my most relaxing days of the week. I get up later (around 9 a.m.) and really take my time getting ready, because the rest of the week it’s more of a shower, dress, teeth, food prep, escape routine. Sometimes I’ll make pancakes (the ingredients are below, I recommend medium-low heat for your pan).
Once I leave, I’ll take the bus—conveniently located outside my apartment—to class. The bus is definitely something you’ll use if you go to Illinois. With so much space, everything is big, beautiful, but really spread out. My first class of the day is BADM380: International Business. It’s pretty self descriptive; the name says it all. That class lasts from 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Immediately I’ll rush to my next class at 12:30 p.m., and then I’m free at 2 p.m.! Then I’ll go home and do some homework, eat food, clean (because when you live in an apartment that’s old it constantly creates dust, somehow), and get ready for the newspaper! An online-only publishing night, that only lasts from 5-7:30 p.m. Then I’ll go home, eat dinner, and prepare for what I call my “long day.” Dun dun dun…
This is my dark day. Not because of the classes, work, or newspaper, but because it’s all at once; one after the other. I get up at 7:30 a.m. to get to work by 9 a.m., bringing my lunch, dinner, and sometimes breakfast with me. I’ll do work at the Office of Communications for Enrollment Management (OCEM, pronounced Awe-SOME) for two hours, and then walk to my ENGL286: Asian American Literature class. We will talk about literature, social issues, and materials until 12:20 p.m. and then it’s time for lunch! (Usually I do some form of homework during this break.) I return to OCEM until just before 5 p.m., at which time I head to the newspaper for Tuesday night production!
From 5-9:30 p.m. we are editing stories for online content and for the paper for Thursday. Fun fact, most of Thursday’s paper is done on Tuesday nights. Otherwise, we’d be trying to squeeze in a full equivalent of an eight hour production (like Sunday) in between Wednesday classes. After that, it’s time to go home, prep lunch for the next day, squeeze in any last-minute homework and go to sleep.
It’s Wednesday morning. It’s probably cold. I’m up at 6:45 a.m. to go to, you guessed it, the newspaper. For those extremely worried at the thought of regularly getting up before 8 a.m. in college, don’t worry. Not everyone’s schedule is like mine. Granted, you’ll probably have to get up before 8 a.m. for a job, but college is a time for sleeping in. After I drag myself out of bed and do all of the necessary human things, I’ll hop onto the bus to go to the office. We’ll edit some more, everyone a little groggy and eating copious amounts of yogurt and oatmeal. Time passes in a sort of blur, and by 11 a.m. I’ll be in the same Monday business classes I had two days before. It’s thrilling, I know. But finally, after that long Tuesday and Wednesday morning, I am free! I get to do homework, get some bubble tea, see a friend, and anything else I feel like doing on Wednesday afternoon. It’s quite a relaxing moment.
Thursdays sing the same tune as Tuesdays, except I don’t have newspaper for 4.5 hours after work. We’ll have a short meeting at the newspaper in the evening, and then I’m free to do whatever I want! I’ll do some homework, see my friends, work on applications, maybe even start an art project if I have time. The world is my oyster on this equivalent of a Friday night.
Fridays and Saturdays are my weekend, and during those days I will do all of the laundry, grocery shopping, homework, applications, seeing friends and whatever else it is that I need to do.
Overall, if you’re in a few things on campus; RSOs, jobs, classes, all of the time you think you have free in college is quickly eaten up. But really, it’s so much better because you chose to do all of these things you’re spending your time on! I got to decide what I’m interested in at Illinois and now I get to dedicate my time to those activities. If you’re considering college or go to Illinois and want to be more involved, think about your interests and what you would enjoy participating in on campus. There are over 1,000 RSOs and many other opportunities in research and jobs.
I’m going to sign off, I hope you enjoyed a very detailed look into what one person’s life is like as a college student.