By Rosita Escobedo
Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
Being a college student can be very demanding on a person, both physically and mentally. Depending on the number of classes taken and the level of difficulty the class ensures, a full-time student can expect at least 30 hours a week dedicated to school work alone, not including in- class time.
A full-time college student, at most colleges and universities, can generally be defined as a student enrolled in a minimum of twelve credits per quarter, or three to four classes depending on the number of credits per class. According to Professor Tina Mohler, an instructor at Skagit Valley College (SVC), a five-credit course usually means a student should be ready for a minimum of ten hours of homework a week. If the classes available to you are all five-credit classes, to be a full-time student you must be enrolled in at least three classes.
By Professor Mohler’s logic, this would result roughly in thirty hours total of weekly school work, depending on the amount of coursework assigned.Many full-time students are also working a full-time job, meaning at least five eight-hour days a week. This can happen for a multitude of reasons. Some of these students are parents and need to work in order to support their families, some are paying their own way through college and need to work in order to care for themselves as well as paying for tuition, textbooks, and other necessary school supplies. Others simply want to save or have extra money, because if you’re being honest, who doesn’t like to have a little spending money? Some people may ask, why don’t they change their schedules to part-time instead? Well, the answer is far from simple. Some people really want to begin their life in pursuit of their newly established career. Others may simply want to get their degree and or schooling in general done as fast as possible, and some may have no other option if they want to complete their schooling. There is, however, a good reason for taking the time to do the work at a slower pace. Taking your time to complete a degree is okay. There is no shame in completing coursework at your own pace. Overwhelming oneself with too much to do can lead to a full-blown burnout resulting in poor work being completed, a complete lack of any productive activities being done, and the possibility of failing a course altogether. This can be a lot even for a student who doesn’t work or have any dependents relying on their financial support. If a student, who works a full-time job, decides to pursue their schooling as a full-time student as well, they can come across some problems not too far down the road. A couple of these problems could include the lack of an appropriate amount of sleep resulting in health problems after a prolonged amount of time, which can lead to poor judgment, a lack of focus either in class or at their job, and extreme exhaustion. Although it can be hard balancing school, work, and family, it’s not entirely impossible. Students all around the world have struggled with finding a way to make everything in their busy day-to- day lives fit into their schedules.
Once a schedule has been established, however, a student may have trouble maintaining it depending on other outlying factors. According to Veronica Guzman, a full-time college student, worker, and mother of an eight-month-old infant, she says, “it’s hard balancing school, work, and family, but with the help of my mom, who watches Adrien (her son), and other friends and family supporting me, I’ve been getting through it.” This goes to show how helpful it is to have support systems in place with a full schedule like hers. Being a student can take a toll on a person's mental and physical well-being if they don’t have the right support systems in place. Students, like Guzman, who have children to support may need help in finding the correct childcare to suit their specific situation, whether it’s in the hands of a professional at a daycare center or if a family member or even a close friend is available to provide that care.
Remember, you don’t always have to do everything at once. Making sure you have a balanced schedule is a key point to success. If a schedule has been established with only school, work, and family, it can be ridiculously overbearing. It’s always good to set aside time to unwind, relax and recharge to steady one’s mind before continuing with rigorous coursework. There is also help available at SVC if you need it. There are tutors available to assist you if you begin falling behind, and staff members want to help you! Just remember, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.