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Top 10 Ways of Wasting Time in College

Relaxing? Avoiding? Not Sure? Find Out How to Tell the Difference

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College life is hard. As a student, you most likely balance your classes, homework, finances, a job, friends, a social life, a relationship, cocurricular involvement, and ten million other things -- all at the same time. It's no wonder, then, that you may need to just spend time, well, wasting time now and then. But how can you tell if you're wasting time in a productive or nonproductive way?

1. Social media (think Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

  • Productive uses: Catching up with friends, socializing, connecting with family and friends, connecting with classmates, relaxing in a fun way.
  • Nonproductive uses: Gossiping, snooping out of boredom, obsessing over old friends or partners, getting information out of jealousy, trying to start drama.

2. People.

  • Productive uses: Relaxing, hanging out with friends, socializing, getting to meet new people, engaging in interesting conversations, experiencing new things with good folks.
  • Nonproductive uses: Malicious gossip, looking for people to hang out with because you're avoiding a task, feeling like you have to be part of the crowd when you know you have other things to do.

3. The World Wide Web.

  • Productive uses: Doing research for homework, learning about topics that are interesting, catching up on current events, looking into academic opportunities (like graduate school or study abroad opportunities), looking for employment opportunities, booking travel to visit home.
  • Nonproductive uses: Stumbling around just to keep boredom at bay, looking at sites you weren't interested in in the first place, reading about people and/or news that have no connection or impact on your time in school (or your homework!).

4. The Party Scene.

  • Productive uses: Having fun with friends, letting yourself relax during the evening, celebrating a special event or occasion, socializing, meeting new people, building friendships and community at your school.
  • Nonproductive uses: Engaging in unhealthy behaviors, having effects the next day that impede your ability to do things like homework and going to work on time.

5. Drama.

  • Productive uses: Getting help for your friend or yourself during a time of need, connecting a friend or yourself to other support systems, building and learning empathy for others.
  • Nonproductive uses: Making or being involved with drama that is unnecessary, feeling the need to fix problems that aren't yours to fix and that can't be fixed by you anyway, getting sucked into drama simply because you were at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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