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Feb. 1, 1999




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`Real-life´ priorities more important than studies

By H.G. Miller

hgmillerIt seems to have happened again.

For one reason or another, my instructors all have been bold enough to make the assumption that their´s is the only class I´m taking. This unfortunate occurrence has led me to carefully examine my schedule in order to budget my time more effectively.

Taking into account my present course load, along with the various assignments related to school and the number of work hours needed to warrant a paycheck large enough to handle such simple needs as rent and food, I have come to the conclusion that this will be a very successful semester if I just stop sleeping.

Of course, I enjoy sleeping very much. So, it appears this budget of mine will need a little revising.

First, let´s take a look at study time. According to one of those “academic success” seminars forced upon me as a freshman, I should spend at least two hours outside of class studying for every hour I spend in class.

Yeah, right.

OK, we´re not here to mock these counselors´ good intentions. Let´s just see if we can compromise the suggestions a bit.

For example, I believe in balance. So, let´s say I only study for an hour for every hour I´m in class. Actually, I think I should only consciously spend time studying outside of class in relation to the time I´m conscious in class.

Yeah, that seems fair.

Naturally, I´m going to miss a few classes due to unforeseen circumstances — illness, travel, outdoor temperatures above 70 degrees — so already there´s more class time that doesn´t need to be matched by study time.

Next, let´s see if anything can be done about work.

Unfortunately, my current station in life allows me little more status than that of a wage-earner at a local mass-market retail store. Along with this, my employer doesn´t seem apt to pay me when I don´t show up, and I haven´t been able to convince my landlord that sincere love and devoted affection are just as good as money.

So, it appears the work hours will have to remain in the budget as they are.

Now, it is time to begin trimming from some more specific areas of the budget. While I am not normally a detail-oriented person, I find that I can focus quite well on certain aspects of my life early in the morning.

Once my quiet slumber is interrupted by the tender strains of rock radio, my mind immediately begins looking for ways to shorten my morning ritual, adding to the time spent in bed. My personal philosophy is that any minute spent in bed is a minute not wasted dealing with the cold realities of life. Who needs that?

A warm and hearty breakfast can be replaced with dry cereal and milk. Ten more minutes. Because the biggest sweat I´ll break all day will be just getting out of bed, a shower can be easily skipped. Five more minutes.

Things don´t get really bad until I start telling myself, “I´ll just chew some gum.”

Of course, another way to compensate for lost time is to combine activities. For example, most of this column has been written in lieu of taking notes about the many exploits of Walt Whitman.

In fact, I´ve found that most class time can be used for dual purposes. Along with learning, one can balance his checkbook, catch up on assignments for other classes or even chew a stick of gum.

These are all just suggestions, of course. Perhaps the simplest way to free up time in a hectic college schedule is to lower your standards. If graduation is all you´re after, than let´s be honest, not much more than showing up is really required.

I´m sure some instructors will disagree with me, let´s just hope they don´t teach any of my classes. Should any of my current professors read this column, I would like to remind them that the true charm of a college environment is the leniency and understanding of its educators.

I mean, you didn´t actually expect me to read that whole book, did you?

Miller is a Hutchinson senior in English.



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