168 hours

That’s all you have. Every week, 168 hours pass you by, whether you are ready or not. It is completely up to you to make each one of those hours count.

My freshman year at California State University, Bakersfield, I had the privilege of being in Dr. Michael Flachmann’s Shakespeare literature class. He convinced me to be in the Helen Hawk Honors Program at the university, and on the first day of class, he handed us a paper. At the top of the page, in plain black, Times New Roman capital letters, it read:


It was simple enough. Add up the hours of sleep you expect to get in a week. Add to that the hours of entertainment/relaxation, commuting, employment, volunteer activities, meals, chores, extracurricular activities, classes and labs, required study hours, and any additional weekly commitments. Then, add all of those hours together, and subtract from 168.

This fall semester, my time management schedule looked something like this:

  • Sleep: 7 hours/night X 7 days/week = 49 Hours
  • Entertainment/Relaxation: 1 hour/day X 7 days/week = 7 Hours
  • Commuting: 11 hours/week = 11 Hours
  • Employment: 15 hours/week = 15 Hours
  • Volunteer Activities: N/A
  • Meals: 1.5 hours/day X 7 days/week = 10.5 Hours
  • Chores: 1 hour/day X 7 days/week = 7 Hours
  • Extracurricular Activities: 5 hours/week = 5 Hours
  • Classes and Labs: 30 hours/week = 30 Hours
  • Required Study Hours: 30 hours/week Classes and Labs X 2 = 60 Hours
  • Additional Weekly Commitments: 45 minutes/day X 7 days/week = 5.25 Hours

Total: 199.75 Hours

If I went ahead and subtracted 199.75 hours from the 168 hours in the week . . . Well, Houston, we have a problem. My life had to be reprioritized.

Quitting my job gave me 15 additional hours/week, plus the 6 hours that I would have normally spent commuting to and from work. Entertainment/Relaxation time became a rare luxury, and the other 3.75 hours were subtracted from the sleep category. I am, after all, a senior in college, and sleep is more of a luxury than a necessity.

What will you do with your 168 hours?

As for me, I’m just trying to survive the semester.


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Last stand for the undergrad

Fall semester of senior year is nearly halfway over, and if I could give my eighteen year-old self any advice, it would be this:

  • Don’t take even one second for granted, because time flies by (if you are doing it right), and there is no moment to be wasted.
  • College is the time for self-discovery, but it is not the time to put yourself in situations that compromise your integrity or your morals. Those will still be there when college is over.
  • Challenge yourself in the best of ways, and step out (JUMP out) of your comfort zone.
  • Pour over your books, take risks, get involved, and never stop moving. If you are not tired, exhausted, and dragging your feet by the end of the day, then you are not truly living.
  • Be the person you want to grow up to be, and let your actions be a reflection of that person. She will thank you later.
  • Don’t be afraid to question everything. There is no better time in life than right now.
  • Trust that where you are is exactly where you are meant to be.

You will invest thousands of dollars in books, supplies, and extracurricular activities intended for the supplement of your university education. The real education you receive will be from the moments and experiences that you create, from the journey. Let that (very expensive) piece of paper be a commemoration of those moments, and a symbol of the beginning of the rest of your life.


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