A day in the life of a liberal arts student

What do you do at a liberal arts college? What does a sample day look like? If you’re ever curious about a day in the life of a liberal arts student, spend a day with me, and you might be surprised! 


College experiences are different for everybody, but they all share some similarities, like more flexibility, freedom, and most fun of all, the chance to express your curiosity how you see fit. At a liberal arts college like Williams, art majors don’t have much different schedules from other majors, and many of these schools have general curriculum requirements, such as fulfilling a science/math requirement. Pretty interdisciplinary. Below is a sample day of my fall semester first-year schedule. 

A day in the life of a Williams student:

9am – wake up and get ready for the day. I also catch up on emails and readings. 

9:45am – head down to the dining hall to grab breakfast. My freshman dorm is Mission Hall, which has a dining hall on the first floor. 

10:20am – leave for my first class of the day, which is an art history conference (a small seminar) with only 8 students. The class studies art from pre-civilization to the present. It’s in Lawrence Hall, the lower level of the school’s museum, the Williams College Museum of Art. It’s about a 10-15 minute walk. 

10:35am – I’m early for the class, so I find a spot in the grassy areas in Berkshire Quad, which is junior and senior housing right by the museum. Getting some art history reading in. 

11am – My art history conference is until 12:15pm. This class is a small seminar that’s in addition to the lecture component. Today, we’re analyzing and discussing line and form in paintings. About halfway through the class, we make our way upstairs to the main level of the museum, where we view and analyze tapestries and paintings. 

12:15pm – I head to Paresky, where I grab some lunch with some friends. Today, I’m getting a burger and fries. While I’m there, I check my mail. 

12:55pm – I start heading to my second and last class of the day, which is a studio drawing class in the Spencer Art Building. We’ve learned about contour drawing, values, and cross-hatching. Sometimes, we analyze each other’s work – this is called a critique. After a demo, the professor lets us practice independently. 

3:50pm – After practicing drawing using linear perspective, I head to Tunnel City to get a mocha latte and skyr yogurt. 

4pm – I head back to Mission Hall to finish some readings for a history course: Early Modern Europe. 

5pm – I finish up my readings and then spend some time coordinating my work schedule with the local elementary school where I help teach 3rd grade science once a week. Other Williams students also help. Most days, we act as classroom assistants. The college coordinates interesting jobs for first-years; I’ve even been a stand-in for live drawing sessions at the art studio! 

6pm – My friends and I grab dinner at Driscoll, which is a dining hall about a 10-12 minute walk away. We take our food to-go and head down to the river. 

7:30pm – We head back to Mission and relax and hang out for a bit. Our dorms have common areas where we can work or hang out together. I’ve got a Microeconomics reading in my lap, and I skim through that every once in a while. 

8:45pm – After some quick yoga in my room, I head to Spencer to work on my linear perspective drawings. I also work on my weekly object analysis essays for my art history class. Coincidentally, I’m writing about a painting that overemphasizes linear perspective to make a point. 

11:20pm – I start heading back, but first, I text my friend so we can stop by Paresky and grab some food from Snack Bar. It’s a really popular late-night option, and it’s packed. I grab some nachos and add chicken, bbq sauce, jalapenos, and caramelized onions as toppings. 

12am – We both head to Jesup Hall, which is a computer lab near Science quad. For the most part, we’re spending it on YouTube. 

1am – I head back to Mission and get ready for bed. 

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For the most part, there’s a lot of flexibility with how you spend your day, and no day is the same since most classes don’t meet everyday. Hopefully, this gave you a peek into what it’s like studying at a liberal arts college. Even if you’re an art major, it’s encouraged to explore cross-curricular interests, so nobody gets too cocooned into one major. 

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