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Average workload of today's student is too demanding

By Mike Meiler
On September 21, 2011

It's very likely that your college years will be the most stressful of your life.

Your friends who bypassed schooling for full time jobs look like they're ahead of the curve. They're making money, going out and spending freely, living in nice apartments and driving nice cars.

Unless Mommy and Daddy are putting you through school (and this isn't meant to put you down, but as a self-colleger, I'm required to both envy and hate you), you're probably struggling.

You're most likely working at least one part-time job and attending 12 to 19 hours of class a week.

The average college student is expected to study two to three hours for every credit hour taken, so assuming you take 15 credits (which we can assume is close enough to average), you're supposed to spend another 45 hours studying.

If we throw the 45 hours of studying, 15 hours of in-class time and the time spent at a part-time job (about 20 hours), and suddenly students are looking at 80-hour "work" weeks.

Maybe you're interning on top of that, like I am this semester. You're now working around 90 hours a week and most likely only bringing in around $200 a week (assuming you make $10 an hour).

Subtract from that the tuition you're more than likely paying, dorm or apartment expense, etc., and you're probably coming out in the red as long as you're in school.

As a student, you're essentially working two full time jobs (plus overtime) and losing money. Name me another person who lives under those conditions. Do it. I'll wait.

College puts you behind the ball, at least at the start. It takes up all of your time, shackles your social life and empties your pockets.

Post-college life, however, gets a lot easier, at least statistically.

We won't take into account families or travel or houses or whatever you might do after school, because most of us will do different things. What I can measure, though, is what we might make, at least on average, and without taking expenses into account.

I'll even throw out those pesky student loans that most of us (I'm glaring at you, Daddy's girl) have accrued, to ensure that nobody drops out before finishing this article.

According to, the average male college graduate earns $55,000 per year, while the average female grad earns $45,000. Chances are grads are working 40 hours a week.

So, essentially, the average college graduate works 40 hours less per week than the average student, yet makes about $50,000 more per year.

That's doesn't look too bad from down here in the ditch my education has dug for me.

Mike Meiler can be reached at

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