A Day In The Life Of A College Sophomore

Every year, I pick one day during which I keep track of anything and everything I do… then I turn it into a blog post so that you get a peek at my life! I started doing this my sophomore year of high school, and you can read previous “a day in the life” posts here if you’re interested.

The day I chose to keep track of was Monday, October 24, 2016. I carried a pen and small notebook in my backpack and purse all day that day in order to jot down how I spent my time. I highly recommend that you try this at least once – even if you don’t put it on your blog, it’s still fun to see how you spend your time!


6:45 AM – I woke up like four or five times in the night, but this is the first time I’m truly wide-awake and not still sleepy. I briefly consider getting up, but my blankets are just so nice and warm… plus, I still have fifteen more minutes before my alarm goes off.

7:00 AM – I get out of bed and get ready for the day. Since I’ve made it a habit to lay out all my clothes, put what I need in my backpack, fill my water bottle, et cetera the night before, really all I have to do is get dressed, put on a coat, and grab my stuff.

7:15 AM – I sneak a bagel and an apple from the dining hall and eat them while walking down the hill to class. I hate the cold, but love that this weather makes it easier to steal food since I can just stuff it in my pockets. (We’re not supposed to take food from the dining hall but I like to multitask by eating while I’m headed to class, so…)

7:30 AM – I arrive at the classroom where my Prose Style course is held, purposely half an hour early because I didn’t have time to do the reading for Journalistic Reporting & Writing over the weekend. I read this week’s chapter as my classmates trickle in.

8:00 AM – In Prose Style, we learn about appositive sentences and practice writing some of our own.

9:15 AM – I walk back up the hill to my next class, listening to music and checking the news on my phone because there’ll be a quiz and I want to know if anything important happened since I last looked.

9:30 AM – In Journalistic Reporting & Writing, we have our weekly news quiz and then the professor gives a lecture about broadcast reporting, i.e. writing for radio and TV.

10:20 AM – I head back down the hill for my appointment at the writing center located in the English-Philosophy building. (Sometimes I feel like all I do here at Iowa is make trips up and down this hill.)

10:30 AM – My writing tutor helps me with an upcoming essay for Foundations of the English Major. On Saturday I spent several hours close reading Emily Dickinson’s poem #216 – taking notes, collecting definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary, et cetera. My tutor reviews the notes with me and helps me draft a thesis statement for the prewrite, which is a one- to two-page paper we hand in before each essay explaining what our essay will be about. During this time, I also ask my tutor for help revising a reading response about an Edgar Allan Poe story I read for tomorrow’s Media Shift class. I wrote it on Saturday and was proud of myself for finishing it earlier, since it’s not due until six PM today, but at the same time I know some parts of it are confusing.

11:30 AM – At this point I would normally walk back up the hill to work on homework and eat lunch before my next class but since early voting begins today, I go to the student union and attempt to do some work there. In reality, I end up checking email and replying to my friends’ texts. Also, I discover that one of my favorite authors, Lois Lowry, will give a free lecture here in November so I spend quite a bit of time talking about that with my best friend, Jill.

12:15 PM – I revise the Media Shift reading response and send it off to my teacher.

12:30 PM – I meet my roommate in the basement of the student union, where we wait in line to vote. There’s a huge line, which is promising for, like, the future of our country, if maybe not so much for my plans for the day, since we’ll be here a while. We pass the time discussing the movie we watched last night (Thor), memes (“millenials are snake people”), and how hungry we are (very).

1:15 PM – Finally, it’s time to vote. #IGuessImWithHer

1:20 PM – I walk back up the hill to check out an event where I heard there would be free food for students who voted but it turns out that they’re serving wings, which I hate. Never mind, then.

1:30 PM – I buy a falafel wrap, pita chips and hummus, and yogurt from the little café in the building where my next class is. CAN I MAJOR IN MEME STUDIES WITH MINORS IN FALAFEL-EATING AND TEA-DRINKING BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE AMAZING. I talk to some of my friends and get started on the reading for today. Normally, I would have plenty of time to do it (as well as the reading questions) before class, but I had no idea the line to vote would be so long.

2:30 PM – In Foundations of the English Major, the professor lectures about literature of the English Restoration.

3:20 PM – My classes over for the day, I walk back to my dorm, where I find an empty table in my favorite study lounge. I check email and update Todoist, checking some items off my to-do list and adding others after I take stock of the homework that needs to be done today.

3:55 PM – I type up the prewrite for Foundations. It’s not due for another three or four weeks but because my scores on the first two essays for this class were not as high as I would have liked, I want to start this project early – and I plan to take this draft to my professor’s office hours tomorrow morning. The prewrite takes me a long time to finish because I have eight pages of notes on this poem and I spend quite a while examining the differences between the 1859 and 1861 versions of it.

4:50 PM – I try to respond to texts, check email, reread what I just spend the last hour working on, and check social media all at once, which works about as well as you would imagine. I can sense that I’m getting distracted so I soon put my phone down.

5:00 PM – I finish the rest of the Foundations reading. Today’s selections are by John Wilmot, Aphra Behn, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Pope acts like a douche in a letter to Montagu, and I’m amused at the sick burns she includes in her response.

6:30 PM – I check email again and head up to my room to drop off my backpack and put on a second sweater because OH I AM SO COLD.

6:50 PM – I eat lasagna and salad for dinner while reading The Daily Iowan and The New York Times. (We’re required to read them each day to prepare for the news quizzes in JRW.)

7:15 PM – My dad was recently in San Francisco for a business trip and he mailed me a loaf of sourdough bread from Boudin’s, so I pick up that package at the front desk of my dorm. On the way to my room, I see my next-door neighbor and another girl I vaguely recognize who lives down the hall, and we start talking about how our day has been, the weirdest thing our parents have ever sent to us, and more. One of the girls and I decide to study together.

7:45 PM – We find a table in a different study lounge, and I write some reading questions for Foundations.

8:10 PM – I use Quizlet to study the past few days’ Foundations vocabulary words.

8:35 PM – I type up my notes from JRW and highlight anything that seems particularly important (or is something I’m likely to forget). Doing so seems to help me remember the material better, which is good because occasionally we have quizzes over the concepts covered in lecture.

9:15 PM – I stretch my legs and pack up almost all of my school stuff, then settle in to read “Hop-Frog” by Edgar Allan Poe for Media Shift tomorrow. After I’ve finished it, I check the syllabus to see what else I need to read and realize that “Hop-Frog” was assigned for Thursday, not Tuesday. OH WELL. Class doesn’t start until 9:30 tomorrow, so I can totally finish the readings by then. In the meantime, I start reading “The Purloined Letter.”

9:50 PM – I pack up the rest of my school stuff and head on up to my room, where I brush my teeth, pick out clothes for tomorrow, fill my backpack with stuff I need for Tuesday, and make a cup of chamomile tea so that it will cool somewhat while I’m in the shower. (I don’t like very hot tea.)

10:15 PM – I take a shower. One of the many, many benefits of having short hair is that washing it takes hardly any time!

10:30 PM – I put on pajamas and talk to my roommate.

10:35 PM – I update this log of what I’ve done today and am momentarily distracted by Goodreads. Oops.

10:40 PM – I drink my tea and read a little bit of Adulthood Is A Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen.

10:45 PM – Time for bed. My goal is to be asleep, or at least sleepy, by 11 PM. Some nights that works, and some nights it doesn’t. Some nights I’m still studying or reading at 11 PM, but those nights are very rare.


My schedule is obviously different on other days:

  • I have Media Shift on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • I have Intro to Multimedia Storytelling on Wednesdays
  • I have two-and-a-half hour labs for JRW and MMS on Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • I have only one class, a Foundations discussion section, on Friday mornings
  • Monday is the only day I have a tutoring session at the writing center
  • I do homework all day on Saturdays and take Sundays off
  • I have a group counseling session on Wednesday afternoons
  • My writing group, the Iowa Writers’ House, meets on Tuesday evenings

Also, voting is definitely not an everyday occurrence! So that made this day special.

This was actually a really good day to keep track of! It was very realistic: I tried my hardest to be productive, and was mostly successful at that, but there were definitely a few setbacks along the way. Sometimes things were simply out of my control, such as the long line at the voting booths, and other times I became distracted by THE INTERNET. And that’s OK. It happens, sometimes. This year I’m trying not to get too upset when that happens, and to just move on instead and keep doing my best.


If anyone wants to steal this idea, I don’t mind. What are your days like?

P.S. At times I have referred to myself as a junior in college, so why the change now, in the title of this post? Well, I was originally going to graduate in three years, but I’m now strongly considering whether or not I want to graduate in four after all because A) there’s still so much more I want to study before leaving school and B) HAHAHAHA I FREAKED OUT AT THE THOUGHT OF GRADUATING SO SOON HAHAHAHA. So, I hope that cleared up any confusion!


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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3 Responses to A Day In The Life Of A College Sophomore

  1. AHHH I HAVEN’T BEEN HERE FOR AGES. So nice to hear about what you’ve been up to 🙂 And how different it is to Australia! I’m so glad I don’t have 8am classes, considering it takes me an hour on the train to get to uni. And next year I’m only there three days a week (one of the days is only two hours). But I know what you mean about not wanting it to end – I’m kind of glad that my degree is five years because adulthood sounds way too scary 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ahhh, what do you do on such a long train ride? Read?!

      Wow, five years? And here I am with four years and then there’s people in the UK with three years. It’s so interesting to see how differently every country’s educational system does things!

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    You do so much work omh (I know I say this every time you post about college but I’m a barely functional human right now and am definitely not doing even nearly enough work right now so I am In Awe). Also how do you mornings, I literally went to sleep at 9am today (I am … possibly completely nocturnal now?).

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