Beep. Beep. Beep. The first thing she hears in the morning is the shrill sound of her alarm, begging her to wake up and get started on her day. The girl moans but pulls herself out from the warm confines of her blankets. With bleary eyes and foggy brain, the girl faces another day packed with a million things to do. She isn’t a doctor or a lawyer. She isn’t a parent or a teacher. This girl is a community college student. And she is exhausted.
The girl has to get to class on time which is bright and early at 9:35 in the morning. She doesn’t have a car and today she doesn’t have a ride either. She has to make the trek to the bus stop with a mountain of books strapped to her back. This walk is one she makes regularly, but it is exhausting.
Why is this young woman in the prime of her life so tired? It’s simple, really. There are only so many hours in the day for her to complete all of the tasks doled out to her on a daily basis, and the workload is piling up.
Last night she left school and went right to work. She didn’t mind it. Working is getting her one step closer to buying a car and, with it, freedom from the public transportation system. After her eight-hour shift, she finally gets home around midnight. The girl is so tired, but she pushes on. She knows she has to. Transportation is one thing, but to be able to afford to have a good future she needs to graduate from her community college and move on to a university.
School seems to be a huge part of the problem for this weary girl. Granted, she would get home past midnight, but she knows that she has an exam in her Psychology 101 class that she isn’t sure she is prepared for. And this girl refuses to let her GPA fall. Too much rides on her keeping her grades up.
Students get a syllabus at the beginning of each semester that outlines what is expected of them and what they can expect from their professors. In almost every syllabus there is a section that states that the student should dedicate at least three hours per credit a week towards homework and studying. For a full-time student this amounts to at least thirty-six hours of study time per week. But, in reality, there’s no class that requires that little studying.
Certain classes require the submission of seven or more highly detailed assignments per week on a regular basis. This assignments by themselves can be draining. Some students end up taking four or five of these strenuous courses in one semester. This adds more and more to the stress level.
The girl has made it through her first two classes, and desperately needs a coffee or a Red Bull to wake up. She is almost positive that she bombed the exam that she just took. The lack of time and lack of sleep didn’t do her any favors either. This poor girl is so tired. She only has one more class for the day, but that doesn’t mean that she gets to rest. After class, it is time for a different type of work.
Most students have at least a part time job, no matter how many classes they are taking. Some even work a full forty-hour week on top of their classes and studying. The girl from our tale is one of them. She stands behind a customer service counter at the local Target. She processes returns and has to listen to the most ridiculous complaints she has heard in her entire life. She apologizes to a women for the lack of Christianity in the store’s Christmas decorations. Meanwhile she wonders if she will have time to do a final read through and edit for her Ethics paper due tomorrow. This retail-working student is so tired.
The poor girl’s manager kept the employees late tonight, stating that the store was in complete disarray. There seems to be no end in sight. She makes it home and before she can even open her laptop, the girl feels her eyelids growing heavy. There is no way that she will be able to work on her paper. She will just have to hope that she worked hard enough on it that it doesn’t need one final polish.
They always say that an adult should get around eight hours of sleep a night in order to be refreshed and functional for the next day. For a college student, this doesn’t really seem like an option. There are just not enough hours in the day.
And what about our heroine’s social life? Social relationships are important for anyone, but especially young individuals. This time in their lives is when they are discovering who they are. They are looking for people who truly understand them, and even looking for “the one”. How can anyone expect to manage a social life in the midst of all of this work? When there is pressure coming in from all sides there is barely time to think, let alone have fun.
That is the point of all of it. There are not enough hours in the day to have a job, sleep, have a life, and get all of the school work done. It is obvious that college is supposed to be challenging, but at what point does the course load become too much?
*Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.
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