How many hours are there in a day?

I recently read Total Recall:  My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  It was fantastic! But this is not a book review.  There was one part toward the end that really had an impact on me.

During his time as Governor of California, Schwarzenegger was speaking to a group of college students when one of the students stood up and said that he needed additional financial assistance from the state to continue to go to college.  The young man said that because tuition was increasing, but his financial aid was not, he would be forced to get a part-time job to pay his bills.  How could he be expected to keep up his grades and graduate if he had to work while going to school?

Schwarzenegger looked at him and asked ‘How many hours are there in the day?’

The student was confused, but responded ’24, of course.’

Schwarzenegger asked how many hours he went to class and the student responded with 2 hours on one day and 3 hours on the other.

This is when the Governator began to truly school the kid.  He said, ‘Let’s say you study a couple of hours each day for each class.  Between classes and studying that’s about 6 hours one day and 7 the other.  Now you only need about 5 or 6 hours of sleep, that’s about what I average each day.  That leaves you 11-12 hours each day.  Even if you took 2 hours each day to watch TV, play video games, party and drink that would still leave you enough time to have a full time job.  So, explain why the state should give you more money when you aren’t willing to work for it in the first place?’

Everyone is going to take away from this story something slightly different.  For me, it means that I shouldn’t complain about not having enough time, but rather accomplish more meaningful things with the time I have.  I have decided that during the school day, I will give myself 15 minutes of “down time.”  At home, outside of family time, my “down time” will be 30-60 minutes.  Other than that, it is working to make my classroom a better learning environment, my assessments more meaningful, my labs more interesting, and my technology more seamlessly integrated.  Being more focused will lead me to be a better advisor, a more involved teacher, and a more attentive father and husband.

What do you take away from this story?


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