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SPOTLIGHT

A day in the life of a college student


Going to college is fun and exciting, yet many students worry because it is such a big step in their lives. Have you ever wondered what a typical day looks like for a college student? AIE's "Hear about College from Students" series provides honest answers from college students. Find out what they would do differently if they could go through high school again, how they decided on a major, what they do for fun, how they've met people, and more.

The following is an example of one of the interviews featured on AIE's "Hear about College from Students" page. To view the complete archive of interviews, visit this page.

Bryan — Computer Science Major, New York City

  • What is a typical day for you on campus?
    There isn't really a typical day. That's the beauty of college life — it's always changing. I leave the house around 9:15 to go to the gym and work out for about two hours. I go to class from 1:50-2:40, and my next class is from 3:00-3:50 so I don't have much time in between to do anything but get to the other side of campus. Then I've got another class from 4:10-5:25. After that, I usually meet up with my best friend and we go have dinner. I go home and start studying for about three hours — more if I've got a test the next day. Studying consists of doing the assigned readings, reviewing past lectures, and quickly looking over upcoming lectures. I'd say for a typical day of class, I spend about three to four hours studying. I always try to fit some sort of extracurricular activity in the day.
  • What do you do for fun? Do you stay at school and get involved with the recreational activities available on campus, or do you go home over the weekend?
    My friends and I usually get together on the weekends and play some football or basketball. I'm in the meteorology club and have some friends there too. At night, we usually go to some of the local bars or sometimes catch a movie. My girlfriend and I also go dancing and that's always a blast. I work out five days a week. It gives me time to think about things going on in my life.
  • What's the biggest difference between life in high school and life in college?
    The biggest difference between high school and college is that your time management skills are far more crucial. If you have good time management skills, college is easier, but if not, it's almost impossible.
  • What's the easiest way to meet people and make friends?
    There are plenty of people around, and meeting them isn't hard at all. The easiest way to meet someone is to get involved in something, whether it's your classes or a club or something like that. You just have to put forth the effort. Try to form study groups — people always want to find a study partner.
  • How did you decide on a major?
    Both of my parents work in the computer industry, and I've been raised with computers and technology; so it was sort of natural that I have an interest in it. However, I did change my major from biomedical engineering. I just didn't have as much interest in it anymore.
  • What were the most helpful classes you took in high school to prepare you for college?
    Unfortunately, high school didn't prepare me for college. I didn't have to work nearly as hard then as I do now. I learned all of this in my first semester and believe me, it was a tough one. If I had to pick a class, I'd say it was AP English. It helped me with my writing so that when I have a paper due, I don't sweat it, I just write it. It gave me confidence.
  • Is there enough help available if you have trouble with a class?
    There is an amazing amount of help available: Professors, weekly help sessions run by teaching assistants, other classmates, tutors (some for a price and some for free).
  • How did you choose a college or university?
    I applied to two colleges and only one accepted me. I would have chosen Texas A&M University anyway, just because the campus and people are incredible. There is no place like it anywhere.
  • Do you live on campus or off campus? What advantages or disadvantages are there to living on or off campus?
    I lived on campus for two years and now I live off campus. There are plenty of pros and cons to both. Off campus, you get more room to live in and don't have to worry about other people's messes. You can live the way you want and not by someone else's rules. However, it costs more, there is more responsibility with bills, and the bathroom isn't cleaned for you every day. On campus, there is plenty of stuff to do. You can easily meet new people, get a meal, and bathrooms are cleaned daily. On the other hand, you can't bring anyone back to the dorm, and it is more difficult to study in a dorm than an apartment.
  • If you could go through high school again, what would you do differently?
    I would study more and develop my time management skills. Both are crucial to survival in college.
  • Do you consider your college lifestyle to be balanced and healthy?
    I consider my lifestyle to be balanced. I plan every day in order to have plenty of school time and free time. If you just work all the time you'll fall apart really fast, but if you play all the time, your grades will fall really fast. It probably divides up to be about six to seven hours of school work and about four to five hours of free time a week.