The stereotypical college experience shown in films or displayed on social media can make it seem like students attend college solely to make friends and thrive in their new social lives. However, I have found that a flourishing social life in college comes with a price — carving out time to make different social connections can take away from a consistent routine and detract from academic progress. As an upperclassman who now lives off-campus, I will be the first to admit that it can be tedious to reach out to acquaintances and maintain the connections made in the first years of college. However, having a social life while focusing on academics is possible to do when the two tasks are properly balanced. Here are some tips on how to live your best college life:
Be productive while in the company of friends. Making plans with friends in college can be beneficial to both parties when there is a productive task embedded into the plan. The simplest way to do this is turning a lunch plan with a friend into a study session while you eat or inviting a friend to join you for a class at the gym. Doing this will allow you to spend time with friends while being productive. Also, asking for your friends’ schedules at the beginning of each semester can make it easier to plan activities like these since you will have their free times directly in your camera roll.
Do not isolate yourself from friends. For those of you who are extremely busy during the week, it can be quicker and easier to go to the gym, eat lunch and study by yourself, and that’s okay. Moving through your day alone is a very common way of living while in college, especially when you have a loaded schedule and participate in extracurriculars. However, do not let your work consume you to the point of isolation. Spending time with friends is important for your mental health and happiness, and also lends you an outlet from your academic life.
Make friends in your classes and in your major. Although this tip could be the most intimidating, it turned out to be a game changer for me. Ease your way into forming friendships with classmates by discussing upcoming assignments or even complaining about a professor to make connections that will last the entire semester, and possibly beyond. Once you have a classmate’s phone number, you can make plans to work on assignments together, and you will always have a reliable partner when group work is assigned. If you both have a break before or after class, it can be convenient to study or grab food on campus somewhere. Take it even further by scheduling to be in the same course as them for the following semester!
Be present in the company of friends. Although I suggested being productive while spending time with friends, sometimes it is important to just put the work away and focus on your friendships. Fuel conversations that do not discuss academics, microwave some popcorn, take out some Ben and Jerry’s and binge-watch a Netflix show. Making friends in college is not easy, so once you have those people that you can lean on, keep nourishing those friendships by spending quality time together.