Adjusting to the college grind

Classes, work make going to school a full-time job

When freshmen start college, they may not truly understand the definition of “busy” until after a few semesters.

Freshman nursing major Ashley Bauman said she takes advantage of her free time. She exercises at the rec center and works at the library every day. She starts her day with a class at 7:45 a.m. and ends around 2 p.m.

“I never eat breakfast — it’s too early,” Bauman said, “but I always find time for dinner.”

Although she’s not too busy right now, Bauman said as the semester goes along, her days feel longer.

“I stay up really late doing everything — homework, studying,” she said. “I think things will get less stressful once I’m in the (nursing) program. Right now, I’m only in pre-nursing.”

But some freshmen, such as psychology major Cortney Peterson, consider themselves very busy. On Tuesdays, Peterson said she has class from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

“If I’m not at class, I’m doing homework,” she said.

For Peterson, weekends are not an exception to her busy schedule. Instead, she spends them working eight-hour days in her hometown of Ashtabula.

Stephanie Jackson, sophomore integrated health studies major, said she also spends much of her time working. She has two jobs — on campus at the DeWeese Health Center and off campus at American Eagle — and works up to five evenings a week.

Still, Jackson said she finds time to check Facebook and MySpace every day.

“I’m late for my classes because of Facebook,” she said.

Seniors agree that their school schedules have gotten busier as the years have gone by.

“Oh, to have a freshman’s schedule again,” said Dan Lawall, senior computer information systems major.

Lawall balances 16 credit hours and a 30-hour work week. He works in the morning, has one class at 11 a.m., works until 5 p.m., goes home to eat dinner, then finally ends his day with a night class from 7 to 10 p.m.

“It feels like I’m working an 8-to-5 work day, with my lunch break being a class,” Lawall said.

His only free time is on the weekends. When not socializing, he’s catching up on the previous week’s homework and doing anything to help him get ahead for the next week.

Lawall said he likes having a constant schedule, but sometimes he wishes his days weren’t so jam-packed.

“I worry about free time on busy days because I’d rather not go from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. straight with no time to relax,” he said.

Steve Ross, junior computer science major, rarely has time to relax, either. A member of the Kent State baseball team, he knows how to stick to his schedule. He wakes up at 7 a.m. to make sure he can cook a good breakfast and pack food to eat throughout the day.

“Athletes have to intake more calories than the average student in order to have enough energy for the day,” Ross said. “I try to eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day rather than cramming three huge meals in. This way I’m never hungry.”

Ross juggles morning and night classes so he’s able to go to his four-and-a-half hour baseball practices.

“At first, the day seems overwhelming,” he said, “but I always think back to high school when I had more class during the day than I do now.”

With the team’s first game quickly approaching, Ross said he spends his free time wisely — no late nights and no alcohol when socializing allow his body to stay rested.

Freshman education major Meghan Collins said she considers herself and other college students to be fairly busy.

“With all the classes I’m taking, it’s hard to get my homework done,” she said. “There’s always something to be done.”

Contact news correspondents Kelly Pickerel at [email protected] and Christina Stavale at [email protected].