Campus Life

A day in the life of a university student

By Raven Nyman

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

A normal day at university might not sound all that exciting, but if you’re a prospective student, then you’re likely interested to find out what a day in the life looks like for the average undergraduate.

Of course, everyone’s routine will be a bit different. You might be an early riser, or a night-owl, but for the most part, university allows you to tailor your schedule to suit your preferences.

Now that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to avoid early classes or wake-up calls throughout your entire tenure, but the schedule will still be a lot more flexible than what you got used to in high school.

So, without further ado, let’s examine what a typical day in the life might look like for an incoming university student. Remember, your personal schedule will be suited to complement your own career goals, priorities, and interests.

9 a.m. It’s Monday. You wake up to your alarm and stretch. You’re not much of a morning person, but thankfully you’ve scheduled your Monday-Wednesday-Fridays to start at 11 a.m. Score!

You grab a glass of water, then head to the bathroom to refresh. Gather your books for the day (coordinating your notebooks by the school day that you’ll need them is a helpful packing tip to keep your backpack — and your mornings — organized) and have them ready by the door.

Grab two pieces of toast, spread with peanut butter, slice a banana, then pour your mug of Earl Grey tea and head out the door to catch the bus.

If you’re living on campus first year, these steps can be shortened into the following: wake up, head to the dining hall, grab food, run to class.

9:45 a.m. Walking to the bus, you sip your tea and review what needs to be done today.

At the bus stop, you get a chance to browse through social media. When the bus comes, you flash your student pass, take your seat, then proceed to option A or B.

Option A: You’ve got a pop-quiz in class today, and part of an assigned reading to finish. You tuck your phone into your backpack and dive into work to fill the half-hour commute to class.

Option B: You finished all your readings last night and are prepared for class. You pull out your headphones and spend the bus ride rocking out to new Arcade Fire. A fellow student falls asleep on your shoulder.

10:30 a.m. Your bus arrives at the loop. Thankfully, the trip has been on time this morning, and you feel no pressure to literally run to class, as you do some days. On mornings like this, when you arrive early, you may grab breakfast or a coffee from the student union building, or stop to read the paper.

From the bus loop, most classrooms are a 10 minute walk. After you exit the bus, you head across campus to your first class and settle in.

12:50 p.m. Your first two hour lecture ends. Your stomach is growling. Your professor assigned another novel to be read by Wednesday, along with another quiz. 

You’re thinking sushi, or maybe pizza for lunch. You head to the student union building to spend your lunch break, reviewing your readings for your afternoon classes while you eat. On Tuesdays and Thursdays you’ve scheduled yourself an extra hour for lunch, to meet up with friends or get homework done. Today, there’s time to eat, review, and head to the next class.

1:30 p.m. Your second class begins.

2:50 p.m. Your second class ends. You have 10 minutes to make it to your next class across campus. You arrive sweaty, but just on time.

4:50 p.m. You’re finally done classes for the day! But today you’ve got a meeting to plan the next bi-weekly event for your student club. You grab a snack and a drink from the cafe in your department, then head to the meeting.

5:30 p.m. Your meeting wraps, and you’re ready to get home after a bit of socializing with your club-buds. You bus home with a friend and catch up on how the day has gone. Your friend invites you to a trivia event later tonight.

7:30 p.m. You’ve made it home, and have finished your dinner and clean up for the night. Proceed to option A or B.

Option A: You settle-in for a few episodes of Netflix before you tackle tomorrow’s readings and assignments. 

Option B: You finish as much of your homework as possible now, then head to meet friends for a Harry Potter Trivia Night at the local pub. You know you’ll be pulling a late night for this one, but it will be worth it!

11:30 p.m. You chose the Harry Potter trivia. Now it’s time to finish those readings up before bed. 

You stay up a bit too late until your eyes start to cross as you read. You’re beginning to dread the thought of your alarm clock. It’s time for bed and another day.

Welcome to university life!