A Day in the Life of an '80s College Student

College life is the most incredible life period in the life of every generation. The 1980s was the turning point in our civilization, the focus has shifted to modernization, computers appeared, new businesses started, cellphones were invented. These developments influenced the people’s mindset and formed a new generation of motivated and ambitious youth. Under the effect of a fast-moving world, the development of technologies, digitalization, society, and political changes, the number of students, the quality of education, and its affordability, students get an opportunity to study and get a well-paid job according to the chosen major. While getting back to the ’80s, we can see that higher education was much more accessible than now. The students were involved in different activities, and their future career was determined so it is pretty interesting what their college life was like. In this article, you will find out a few interesting facts about the day in the life of a college student.

Early awakening

The student’s day always starts early. In the 80s the routine with alarms was the same as now - starting from 7 am the clock for every 5 minutes reminded that it is high time to wake up and attend the lectures. Many students did some sport activities or simple exercises in the morning. Girls paid a lot of attention to their hairstyle and clothes, so they had to wake up earlier to freshen up before the classes. The 1980s fashion can be characterized with the bold bright style, colors, and silhouettes, and too many accessories.


Attending lectures and classes took up a huge part of a student's time. It also included writing papers with the use of the actual pens, spending a lot of time in the library while doing research. On average, students spend around 8 hours at college or university. In the 1980's there was no portable programming software that can help to study and keep all educational materials at hand. In order to prepare the homework, the students had to visit the computer’s labs if some information was not available in the printed books or the scientific calculator was needed for hard sciences. That period of time can be considered to be a “dark time” in the history before the invention of Google and Wikipedia.

Preparation of the essays

The students were not able to use devices and the Internet for their essays. The research was much more time-consuming than with online databases. Students spent hours finding the needed information among the bookshelves in the library and the research was a really challenging task without the use of modern technologies. It seems to be strange for the modern students who can simply go to argumentative essay maker to get the task done in a short time with the help of their laptop and Internet. Work on the homework required much more time and effort, so the students needed extra help.

After Class Activity

The universities were putting on great events for students to attend including movies, performances, workshops, and even some parties. There was no Whatsapp, Facetime, Snapchat, or Skype, so people had to communicate face to face. There were a lot of billiards tables for impromptu games or large-scale tournaments. The music and film industry was rising to new heights during the 1980s. All music was on the vinyl or cassette tapes and in order to watch a film with friends, the students had to go to the rental store and it was a standard ritual for the Friday evening or weekend. Before the consoles appeared, there were video arcades that were pretty cheap and could be found in many more places.

Part-time job

Finding the job after classes was pretty popular among students, but it required a lot of effort and time. Students usually sacrificed their sleep or hanging out with friends to get some extra cash. It was also easier to become an intern and get the valuable experience that helped to build a brilliant career in the chosen major.

In the 1980s students were more motivated to study as it solved their further careers and opened the door to new opportunities. There was no Internet, cell phones, or streaming videos, but it was the best period to explore life, make friends, and get new knowledge. A lot has changed since the 1980s, but we should always remember that education at the university is not only lectures, notes, and sessions, but also new acquaintances, friends, and adventures no matter for which generation.

Author Bio 

Michael Turner is a professional writer with a Master's degree in English Literature. He creates content for different online platforms and writes articles for journals. He likes to travel, learn about new cultures, and share his experiences with others.

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