Art by Madeline Duvall
Were you devastated by the switch to online classes this fall? Instead of returning to Pepperdine’s beautiful Malibu campus, students will now have to spend the semester sitting in front of their laptop for at least 12 to 18 hours per week. Terrific.
Despite the challenges of virtual classes such as spotty connections and tired eyes, an online semester comes with unexpected benefits — most notably newfound time. Don’t believe me? Let’s do the math.
Everyone starts off with 24 hours in a day and ideally sleeps for eight hours to wake up fully rejuvenated. If we subtract roughly three more hours for cooking, eating and post-meal clean-ups — then another two more hours for essential exercise and hygienic routines — that leaves 55 precious hours from Monday to Friday to learn, explore, create and waste.
At home, students no longer have to circle around campus to frantically find parking before their next meeting or take a hike up the CCB stairs. They also won’t perform poorly on their exams as a result of spending too much time socializing — rather than studying — in Payson. For once, there will be time for an intentional routine.
After factoring out 18 hours of class time and 20 hours for a part-time job, students now have at least 17 hours each week to dive deeper into their studies and research, devote time to their relationships and even carry out a mini, personal project.
With 17 hours, college students can virtually tutor younger students for the school year, network with professionals on LinkedIn or search for an internship that’s right for them. In 17 hours, they can binge an entire K-drama or a season on Netflix. With 17 hours, they can tidy up their homes, practice a new recipe or bring out an old instrument. After the semester is over, students will have invested a whopping 255 hours into whatever they committed to.
Of course, these suggestions aren’t to put pressure into doing, doing, doing. Sometimes, relaxing with the people around you may be more productive than maxing out your to-do list. The world will speed back up eventually — cherish the calm while you can.
Author Annie Dillard once said, “The way you live your days is the way you live your life.”
How will students live their days this semester?
We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we react and adapt. This fall, students can dedicate themselves to things they’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Finish that scrumptious book, send that letter or start a new family adventure. Life will come with all sorts of surprises, but it is up to us to decide whether we view the surprise as a curse or a blessing.
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