Q: How do you balance relationships and school?
A great and timeless question. Great, because we all struggle with trying to find balance between our relationships and something else. Timeless, because there is always something else that pushes against our balance—school, work, kids, afternoon naps, etc. Learning how to balance life and your relationships is a skill you’ll use long after you graduate.
This balance looks different in the different seasons of your college career. When you start, you have plenty of school work to do. But there is usually ample time to invest in spontaneously dropping in on friends and deciding to move another friend’s bed to the Walker balcony. As you move into your senior year, you’ll find that major coursework and assignments—like when the construction management majors’ estimating projects are due—keep your schedules out of sync.
So what can you do to find an maintain a balance between life and your relationships?
1. Be Realistic. When parents are caring for a new baby, their availability and capacity change. Their focus will understandably be on the care and growth of the baby, and trying to live like they did before the birth isn’t possible. Their time is spoken for, at least for a while.
Switch out “baby” for “project worth 30% of your grade,” and hopefully you see the analogy. Sometimes your coursework will require most of your attention and that’s where you must focus. Fortunately, raising your “course project” takes significantly less than 18 years.
2. Be Intentional. Don’t assume your friends understand why you’ve disappeared into the back of the library or Pour Jon’s. They’ll understand your need to focus on schoolwork, but only if you tell them what’s going on—particularly if you can tell them when your period of seclusion will end. Sharing your challenges helps them to have realistic expectations about how much time you can spend together and tells them how they can pray for and support you. Make a specific effort to connect with your friends when you can. Don’t let your coursework rule your life. It may sound cold and sterile, but make sure you put time on your calendar to spend with friends. As upperclassmen already know, “free time” is precious and, because all your schedules are different, that means intentionally finding and setting aside time to invest in those friendships. Not only are you investing in your friends by making sure they’re not forgotten, you’re also allowing them to “give” in ways that fit with where you are.