Learn From Ferris Bueller: 3 Productive Ways To Use Your Free Time

At some point in your college career you may encounter the desire for what I like to call a “personal day.” A day you can set aside papers, classes, projects, work and other related stressors. Everyone deserves a breather and sometimes one little break in your busy day just does not suffice your need for relaxation.

If anyone has seen the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off they would know that a personal day can bring on intense excitement and adventure. However, it can also cause more problems and harsh consequences if not done correctly. In high school a personal day probably meant faking your parents out with a life threatening sickness in order to stay home from school. Fortunately in college it doesn’t have to be that difficult!

Through watching Ferris Bueller and from personal experience, I was able to create a simple list of tips, or rather, dos and don’ts for taking a successful personal day off. Personal days can potentially add to the stress of life, but if done right they can be quite the miracle.

Avoid Skipping Class.

Although skipping school is in the premise of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it is highly advisable to avoid it in college. Sometimes the stress is just so overwhelming that skipping class seems like the only option. Well it’s not. Chances are that missing class or lying about an illness is only going to cause more problems. Since classes in college are only so long, a lot of information is packed into the hour and a half or so. Missing class could mean missing a really important lecture or assignment. Catching up, in my experience, tends to add more stress to the mix. You find yourself spending a considerable amount of time trying to get back the information you missed.

I know skipping class might seem like the easy way out especially since parents are no longer a factor. No one can stop you, it’s ultimately your choice and you don’t need to call the school letting them know you won’t be there. However, missing class can really hurt your grade. You may have heard that teachers don’t take attendance in college. Unfortunately I have break the news to you: this is not always true. Almost every college professor I’ve had took attendance, and almost every single one of them had a limit on the number of days you could miss before you failed the class. Do yourself a favor: care for your grades and don’t fall behind.

Plan For It.

Before you schedule your classes for the semester, keep in mind that you will probably want to have a day to yourself every once in a while. You can set up the possibility for this every week if you are smart about it. Since I have a long commute to school, I’ve always tried to schedule more classes per day for a lesser number of days. Every semester I have to take 4 classes. In the past, I would try to schedule them all within 2 or 3 days a week. One way to make this work is by taking advantage of online classes if they are available to you. A lot of self-discipline is needed, but you never have to travel or sit through a class. You get to decide when to do the work each week (of course while keeping deadlines in check).

I do know that tight scheduling can be difficult, and it doesn’t always work. The best advice I can give is to at least leave one day open a week. Plan your week out so that everything can be done in the other 6 days. That way when your open day arrives, you have room to finish things you may have fallen behind on or take that wonderful personal day to rejuvenate your mind and body. Sunday has always worked great for me since it is at the end of the week. Planning is generally an important key for success in college to begin with so it’s good to make it a priority early on.

Don’t Take Free Time For Granted.

One thing is for sure: Ferris made great use of his day off. One of the best ways to do so is by spending time with friends. Get to know your roommates and other friends by exploring campus or the surrounding city, visiting a museum, or going to an afternoon sporting event. Of course, having a personal day could mean just hanging out by watching movies or reading a good book. You deserve some relaxation and a day to wind down on school and outside work. Enjoy it while you can, especially if you go through the trouble of making it happen for yourself.

There is also a possibility free time may just pop up during any given day. Use that time to relax or enjoy yourself. It’s hard to find those times while you’re in college, so take advantage of every moment.

Ferris Bueller was right when he said,

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Keep in mind that school and work are extremely important, but so is combating stress through fun and relaxation.

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Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman is a senior at DePaul University working toward an English degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing. She also has a minor in Digital Cinema. Molly especially enjoys spending time with loved ones, listening to music, watching movies/television and playing with her dogs. She also has a passion for antiques, crafts, animals, photography and the great outdoors.