I've written a couple times about the importance of time in college, and I think that just reaffirms how big of a thing it is for us. We have a lot to juggle between getting a reasonable amount of sleep, making time for food and exercise, work, assignments, studying.... When all is said and done, it's no wonder that we cherish the time when we have actually checked off all the items on our to-do list.
With that said, there is another distinction to be had. The time when we're not actively accomplishing one of the aforementioned tasks falls into two categories: spare time and free time. Though at first glance they may seem similar, it's the context of their time that sets them apart. Allow me to demonstrate.
Spare time, for example, is the time that is granted to you when your class is let out early and before you have to get to your next class is spare time. It's in between two tasks that need/are going to be accomplished. In that spare time, you may opt to study up on those formulas you're not 100% certain about, decide to help defend/take over one of your campus' Pokemon GO gyms, or go grab a snack from the coffee shop. It's the next impending thing that has to be done that makes the distinction.
On the other side is free time. This is when everything is accomplished and there is nothing else to be done for the time being. This usually falls on weekends when we're not having to deal with work or extra assignments. You've done all your assignments, and your church group isn't meeting until tomorrow morning. Now is the time to catch up on what everyone is watching on Netflix, continue that book waiting patiently on your nightstand or, as it is with me, finally manage to write another article for Odyssey.
This may seem like an arbitrary topic to write about, but I believe there is something important to be gleaned from all of this. Time is of the essence, and that essence is especially relevant to us in college. We're so focused and set on our own paths that we mistake our free time for spare time, and studies show that both different effects on mental health.
I've mentioned this before and I will mention it again. We are not machines, programmed to memorize and regurgitate information back at a slab of paper when it's time for a midterm. We need our rest, but even our rest periods can become work periods if we're not careful. Now I'm not pointing any fingers here or trying to complain, but the point is our time really is valuable. Spare time, free time, even work time. But it's still time, so we should use it wisely.
Happy Spring Break, everyone.