I have heard it said numerous times at family get-togethers, bar-b-ques and anywhere that there is adult small talk, “Son, you have more free time in college than you ever will the rest of your life.” My initial response has always been to politely acknowledge the statement while simultaneously thinking to myself, “This guy is bonkers.”

With each year of higher education I seem to get under my belt, I am more convinced that perhaps the people who told me this weren’t crazy after all. It seems to me that with each year that goes by, you lose a little more personal time.

For instance, when I was a freshman, if I wanted to, I could sleep in until 10 a.m., go to two or three one-hour classes, and by 2 p.m., the rest of the day was mine. 

Sure, when hanging out with friends, especially during an exam week, we would always complain at how we had no life, but in reality we were only obligated to give about 4 hours a day to school.

By junior or senior year, the pile of cash you had stashed away from trimming Mrs. Spencer’s shrubs in the summer starts to dwindle away, and you’re forced to get a part time job. Now, instead of being done at 2 p.m., you wait tables until 10 p.m.

In grad school it only gets worse. I work from 8-4 p.m., have class from 4-10 p.m., go home and go to bed and start it all over again the next day. On weekends, I’m in the library writing papers or working on group projects. I can only imagine what life will be like after college. With a full time job and a wife and kids hopefully, “me time” seems pretty non-existent.

My point is this: Life doesn’t wait on anyone, and it turns out that we do have more free time now than we ever will again. Don’t waste it, friends. As much as it hurts, get up early and take in a sunrise or go for a jog. Enjoy the time to find yourself and pick up a new hobby, something you really love. If we don’t, we’re going to be sitting in our rockers one day thinking about how fast it all went by and how little we made of it.