One of the first things students hear when they sit down in a class for the first time is to read the syllabus, and on the first couple pages, they are confronted with the same statement:
“For every hour spent in class, students will be expected to spend two hours outside of class on homework.”
If a student was taking four classes, an hour and 15 minutes each, twice a week, then that would be a total of 16 hours a week, just on homework.
And what about students completing their upper division? With 16 units, that could be four, two-hour classes, twice a week. In that case, the student would be expected to complete a total of 32 hours of homework outside of class each week.
Often, this isn’t how it actually works out, but the expectation is still there. The pressure is still there.
What about work? In order to pay rent and put food on the table, many students are working 15 to 20 hours a week, sometimes more.
There’s also the necessary action of sleeping, and the average human being is supposed to be getting at least eight hours a night.
There’s also eating, socializing, participating in religious activities and extracurricular activities. Where does the time go?
Student life is a juggling act.
Every semester it feels like more is added to the plate. More units. More expectations. Classes get harder and more is expected of students.
And the stress of trying to keep all the balls in the air can sometimes be too much for students. Eventually, they’re going to drop some of them.
The fact is there is no simple solution. Each of the aforementioned things is necessary. Students need to go to class and complete their homework. They need to sleep and they need to eat. You can’t just cut one out.
Often, students feel like in order to succeed in college, they have to focus the majority of their time and energy on their grades, even if it means making sacrifices in other areas of their lives.
In order to get good grades, students feel like they have to stay up late and study for that test. Or, to fit all the classes they need in, students will schedule them back to back from morning to late afternoon, skipping breakfast and lunch.
However, grades are important, but not more important than students’ mental health.
And employment is important, but so are relationships with family and loved ones.
Students are expected to take on more and more, to take as many classes as they can, finish up their degree in four years, make sure they’re making good money, take on extracurricular activities join clubs to make their future applications look good.
Students are expected to keep all the balls in the air, but at what cost? Students only have so much time.