When it comes to the college workload, it can seem overwhelming. As a college student, you should be studying almost every day. If you are a full-time student, that means 24-36 hours a week plus the 12-15 hours a week you spend in class. That is a total of 36-51 hours solely dedicated to studying.
So, given the amount of time required, should you study on weekends? The answer is that you should not study on the weekends if at all possible. You need time to get away from your studies and relax so that you are fresh for the next week.
I am serious; if you want to be the best student you can be, take the weekends off. After putting in a full 40 hours through-out the week, your mind and body need a break. Studies show that excessive homework leads to stress, lack of sleep, depression, and lower test scores. In other words, if you study too much, you will get burned out, and your productivity plummets along with your physical and mental health. Besides all of that, your education may be your primary responsibility right now, but it is not your only responsibility. Along with going to school, you also must maintain your health, hygiene, and social life. Honestly, do you want to be the genius with failing health, greasy hair, and no friends?? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Unfortunately for me, as a person who likes to go, go, go, and never take a break, I learned this the hard way. Now I am here to prevent you from making the same mistake I did.
If you are looking to improve your study habits so that you don’t have to spend your weekends studying, check out our 25 key tips to streamline your studying blog post linked below:
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If you are looking for the best study tools out there, you should read our article on the best study tools to enhance your studying at the link below:
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Keep a Consistent Study Schedule
To make this all happen, you have to keep up with your study routine during the week. On average, a full-time student spends about 40 hours a week doing school-related activities. After that, you have as much time left over as you can expect to have for the next few years, at least. So, you really have to schedule in your class time, study time, etc. If you have a job too then, you will have less recoup time than others, but this is the life you chose right now. Just be careful to not over-do yourself.
The way I keep track of my time is by using the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique breaks your work time into twenty-five-minute blocks with five-minute breaks between each work block. After the fourth work block, you take an extended break (thirty minutes to an hour). It really provides a structured system of time management that is conducive to studying. We actually have a blog post that walks you through the Pomodoro Technique and how to use it to maximize your time, which you can find at the link below:
Secondly, I think you should pick one weekend a month to do something related to your major. Obviously, this activity is different for everyone, but think of museums to go to nature preserves or volunteer somewhere for some real-world experiences. This is totally my opinion, but I think if it is what you are working so hard towards, you should explore it from every angle possible. If you want to be a food critic, you must first be a chef. If you get a part-time job in the kitchen, that totally counts as exploring your major.
Lastly, let’s define the weekend; the weekend starts on Friday evening and continues through Sunday afternoon. Before you look it up, I already did, and that’s not the actual definition. But rather than tell you the answer, I’ll let you discover the truth on your own. Sunday afternoon is prep time for next week. Look at your calendar, make a schedule for the week ahead and prepare for tomorrow. Maybe even go to bed early.
Everything in Moderation
It’s not just a frivolous quote; “everything in moderation” is a proverbial saying that dates back to B.C times and has been said by great minds in different ways, all throughout the centuries. It is as true today as it ever has been; if you don’t learn to moderate your behaviors, then your basic needs get neglected. Basic needs like mental health, hygiene, and spending time with friends are things you have to learn how to juggle for the remainder of your life, so might as well start now.
If you lose your health, your friends and yourself in your college adventure, then all you will have left at the end is your degree and no one to celebrate with, no network to get you the job and possibly no motivation to keep climbing. Don’t lose sight of what is really important; school is only a few years of your life.
The degree is not the end goal; it’s the first steppingstone in a whole journey that will last a lifetime. Of all the dedication, motivation, and time put into obtaining your degree, you will need twice as much to lead the successful life you’ve planned for yourself. Take this time of early adulthood to learn how to fan out your efforts, so no aspect of your life gets completely neglected.
Prevent burn out
The most obvious way to prevent burn out is not to do it every day. If you do something every single day, no matter what it is, you will eventually get tired of it. As a student, you should think of your schooling as your career. You spend a lot of time doing the same type of thing every weekday. That is why “TGIF” is a thing. After five solid days of doing something, we need to change it up to keep it from becoming too mundane.
When you start to feel like things are too much, just take a second to remember that school isn’t a must-do, but instead, you wanted to do this. You chose a specific career path that may require a degree, but if you didn’t deem it worth it or have the privilege to do so, then you wouldn’t be going after it. You have totally got this; you just need to get back to managing your schedule instead of letting it manage you.
There is a reason that there is a top number of how many credit hours you can take per semester, and they have a calculation for you to use to make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle. The reason is that if you are always going high speed for school, then you are causing unneeded stress. And stress is incredibly bad for you. Stress causes headaches, stomach problems, weight gain, lowered immune system, low energy, and insomnia.
Absolutely nothing good can come from stressing out over something. Taking a break from the “everyday grind” is a great way to relieve stress. Just releasing your mind to explore different topics, think about different tasks, and letting the week fade into your subconscious for a while will do wonders to keep your stress level down.
The weekend is the perfect time to slow down and relax. Do whatever it is that makes you feel renewed. If you have a hobby like video games or enjoy binge-watching a series, then you should definitely do that over the weekend. If you don’t have a hobby, you should find something new to try. Look for something that is purely for your pleasure, something you can get lost in for hours without feeling tired at the end.
Mediation is a great way to let go of any extra stress leftover from school or check out a new workout method like cycling or yoga. Maybe you prefer to get pampered. Totally indulge yourself in a one-hour massage or a fresh new haircut. The point is to get recharged so that you feel ready to take on another week.
If the only people you ever see anymore are your teachers and classmates, then you have a serious socialization deficit. It’s not good to go months without spending time with your best friend, and I know your mom wishes you would call more. Blocking ourselves off from friends and family not only makes them feel unimportant, but it’s also a quick way to get depressed.
Do yourself a favor and call up a friend or family member to go out for a coffee date. A great way to get out of your weekday routine is to get out of your house and go somewhere not related to school. Remind yourself that the outside world is for more than just class and studying at the library. Even just a 20-minute phone call can help you recharge and feel connected to more than just school.
Catch up on sleep
I’m sure you expected it already, but I’m going to take this time to do some more harping about getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep is just as bad as too much stress. The side effects are numerous and sometimes extremely serious, like heart disease and depression. Not to mention, lack of sleep dumbs you down. It makes it hard to remember things, and that is really bad for a student. It also causes stress, so before you find your self in a loop of despair, catch up on your sleep.
Sleeping in on Saturday is a good way to get a few extra hours but try to get up at an almost normal time on Sunday and go to bed early if you are still tired. If you let your sleeping in getting out of hand on the weekends, you might throw off your whole schedule and be up all-night Sunday. That would not be a good start to your Monday morning.
Keep up with your hygiene
Obviously, you remember to brush your teeth and shower every day; at least I hope so. What I mean by hygiene here is: go to the dentist, the dermatologist, or wherever you need to go that you have been putting off because you’re too “busy with school.” Neglecting your basic check-ups can lead to bigger problems later on that could have been prevented altogether.
It only gets harder to schedule things like this as you get older. You get a weekend job, have kids, or gain other responsibilities that make it feel impossible to get to the dentist even once a year. Take advantage of having a few hours purely for yourself on the weekends and take extra care now.
Do housekeeping things
As I mentioned, you have other responsibilities besides school. Your laundry is probably one of them, along with vacuuming and grocery shopping. Anything that keeps you going on the day to day basis needs to get done over the weekend so that your weekdays go more smoothly. You already have a packed schedule Monday through Friday, so take this time to make it easier on yourself.
You might be able to get laundry done and visit your friend at the same time. Or go grocery shopping with your mom; moms are great at buying food. We’re all about using our time efficiently here!
Work on personal growth
If the only thing you are working on is your journey to your job title, then you are becoming a great doctor, historian, businessperson, etc. but a stagnant individual. Everyone has room for improvement in their personal life. Whether you need to work out more, learn how to manage your time effectively, or eat healthier, you need to start working on these things. Sometimes we tend to think that as we get older, we will just start to know how to do all of those “adulting” tasks. But as we all find out, that is not the case.
If you don’t already, I suggest you start with learning to meal prep. After sleep and hydration, making sure you are eating right is a top priority to keep you healthy. Making sure that you are getting all of your vitamins and minerals is such an adult thing to do, yet I don’t know of very many adults who actually know anything of depth on the subject. Trust me, just take the time to learn how to eat for health and then learn how to meal prep for the week. Your days will go so much smoother, and you will feel so much better.
College is time-consuming, but life is more so
There is no doubt that being in college takes up a great deal of your time, and a lot of studying is necessary to be a successful student, but it is also extremely important to take time to keep yourself healthy, happy, and ready to go hard again on Monday morning. Even if some of the things I mentioned don’t seem as important as extra study time, I’d argue that all of the things I mentioned are more important to finishing college strong than extra hours reviewing your textbook.
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