U.S. Students Spend More Time Working Paid Jobs Than Going to Class
Facing mounting debt, U.S. college students spend double the time working paid jobs than in the library.
The rest of the article goes on to explain how awful it is for students, what with all the work and borrowing. But the proof of this assertion is a survey by HSBC in which students were prompted with the question, "On average, how long do you spend doing the following each day?" Here are the answers:
Going to lectures/tutorials/seminars: 2.3 hours
Visiting the library: 1.5 hours
Studying at home: 2.8 hours
That's a total of 6.6 hours on school work.
Working (paid employment): 4.2 hours
Volunteering (unpaid): 0.9 hours
That's a total of 5.1 hours on work unrelated to school. So yes, based on these categories, 4.2 > 1.5 and 4.2 > 2.3, so the facts asserted in the headline and the statement that follows it are true. But 5.1 < 6.6, so what's the big deal?
But wait, there's more. The same survey reports the following responses for the rest of the day:
Texting/messaging/emailing: 2.3 hours
Watching streaming devices: 2.2 hours
On social media: 2.5 hours
So that's 7 hours on screens, more than both school work and paid work. (Also listed are 4 hours of socializing.) I guess if I were going to write a news article in Bloomberg and be objective about it, I would include that. But then how could I make the case that life is somehow unfair to students because, what, between school work and other work, they only get to spend 11 hours socializing or looking at screens?
When I blogged about the media earlier this month, noting that with the increase in quantity we have seen some bad examples of quality, this is the sort of media I had in mind. A survey has been cited selectively and incorrectly to push a point of view. Further, I first came across this in my local paper, which had no link to the survey. This is bad journalism. It is unprofessional. And it erodes the trust we'd like to have in those who bring us the news.