5 Productive Ways To Spend Your Free Time In College

The transition into college can be off-putting and strange, but one thing most students don’t expect is to have more free time. If you think about it though, it makes sense. In high school you are taking around six to seven classes. You’re stuck in the building from early in the morning to mid-afternoon. You do this same schedule, same process five whole days a week. Suddenly you’re in college where you have fewer classes (depending on the type of school) and you may not meet on Fridays at all or may only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending on how busy your classes are you might end up with a nice, long weekend.

Now this isn’t something to expect out of college life, but it may come as a surprise when you have those first introductory courses. But what do you do with your time? Now, Facebook isn’t the answer. Although it’s great to keep in touch, you can be doing so much more with your new college lifestyle. So here are my top 5 things you should be doing with that new found free time:

1.)    Studying – Ouch. Yeah, I hit you with the hard one first. While you might not be in class as much as you were in high school, this may mean you have to study and read more outside of class than you did before. Rather than putting things off to the last minute (yes, that’s to all you procrastinators), you should work on those longer projects, start your research, start your reading, and start memorizing for midterms. This way you won’t be cramming, will do better grade-wise, and can make time later for more fun stuff rather than having to pass on fun to study. If you have the time, take advantage of it.

2.)    Exercising – If you’ve read any of my other posts, I’m a big purveyor of working out and taking advantage of the college gym. But really, why not? Most typical colleges have a gym and a membership is part of your tuition fees. You should at least give some of it a try, even if it isn’t your new favorite thing. This way you can try something new, work out, make plans with friends, and not have to worry about that freshman 15. I loved taking my free time and just heading over to the gym. Rather than just lying on my bed and watching TV I could run, bike, or elliptical while getting in my guilty fixes of television.

3.)    Get involved – There is always something going on at a college campus as long as you keep your eyes open. Look out for facebook groups, events, signs, e-mails, or sidewalk writing to find out what’s going on at your school. There will be special weeks where you can get free things, listen to lectures, eat free food, and meet people. Take advantage of any of these things when you have free time. A lot of schools have free sporting events to watch or big get togethers. I know DePaul has a night where everyone gathers in the student center to watch shows like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” and listen to bands. If not an event, there’s always meetings and organizations you can get involved in that’ll look great on a resume, you’ll meet friends, and you can do something you’re passionate about.

4.)    Cleaning – Yeah, I threw another one at you that is just not fun. But let’s face it: no one wants a stinky, messy roommate. Even if you’re both the same level as messy, there’s a level of respect you have to pay to each other – as well as you just have to wear clean clothes at some point in time. If you’re sitting there bored take advantage of the time and pick up, clean dishes, throw away garbage, do laundry, or organize those piles and piles of school papers. Doing this when you have a moment of free time, rather than letting it build up until you can’t exist anymore, will save you time and make life less stressful.

5.)    Meet New People – That’s what you do in college, you make new friends, and you meet new people. If you depend on classes to do that for you, you might be missing out. A lot of the time, it’s hard to make those connections after classes are done. Instead invite people from your dorm to do things, join groups on campus, go to places that you enjoy, or even just get to know people hanging out on the quad. If you’re willing to take a risk and get to know people they’ll be more willing to break out of their own comfort zones. Even if it doesn’t work out, you’ve taken advantage of the time you had and perhaps the people you saw will recognize you later on campus.

You may or may not find yourself with a lot of time to lounge around your dorm room. My advice would be to take advantage of that time. People will tell you all throughout college that it’s the best time of your life and not to waste a minute of it. While it seems silly, why don’t you listen to them and really go out there and do it? What can you lose?

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Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich is a senior creative writing major at DePaul University. She is minoring in journalism and aspires to be the next big food writer. Her love of writing propels all she does from her food blog to online magazine articles. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably baking. She has a ferocious sweet tooth and adores cupcakes of all shapes and sizes.