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Learning in Love: Finding the balance between school & your relationship

Being a college student is a whole balance act in itself. You’ve heard the phrase: “Sleep, good grades, social life. Pick two.”

We’ve got papers to write, labs to do, internships to apply for, TV shows to catch, and adventures to go on while we’re still young. The list of things to do never seems to end for us collegiettes.

Add a significant other into the mix, and 24 hours a day just isn’t enough to stay on top of everything.

Whether you have a boyfriend on campus or a long-distance relationship, spending enough time to maintain and grow a healthy relationship is important. And yet, spending enough time studying and immersing yourself in books to keep up the GPA is even more important.

The balance act between school and your relationship can be tricky, but it is possible. Here are my 5 commandments to help you juggle your want for love and your need for learning:

1. Communicate.
Oh, communication—one of the most frequent problems in relationships. It is crucial that you both you and your boyfriend communicate to each other what’s going on in your life, especially school-wise. No one is a mind reader. This way, he knows that you have a midterm coming up, a paper due at the end of the week, and a job interview somewhere in between. He won’t have to put you in a hard position of choosing a date with him or a date with your books. You both should know school needs to come first, and his understanding of this will best come from you directly telling him your stresses. This way, the temptation to go on a romantic rendezvous or other distractions can’t even come up because your boyfriend should be considerate of the time you need in this stressful period.

2. Go on study-dates.
This isn’t the best idea for all couples, especially those easily distracted. However, it does work well with couples that have realistic expectations of each other and are mature enough to be in each other’s presence but are able to do other things. Go to the library together or have a Skype date. Your attention shouldn’t be on each other, but on your books. You just have the comfort and moral support of their presence. If one of you finds yourself getting distracted, point it out and redirect the other back to studying. If one of you gets overwhelmed, provide encouragement or teasing incentives to get the work done. Be positive influences rather than distractions to each other.

3. Schedule special days for quality time.
It’s very easy for relationships to become monotonous and routine-like. Add spice and variety by scheduling special days or surprises during the rare times when the both of you aren’t dealing with everything at once. Absence is said to make the heart grow fonder. If you can’t see each other everyday or spend as much time together as you may want, make up for it with special dates during the times it is reasonable to spend with each other. This idea goes hand in hand with communication—you guys need to come to a mutual agreement on when is a good time to spend a day with each other. I think dedicating at least one day a month on a good weekend to do something different or for spontaneity’s sake is a healthy, fun, and practical idea. Adding a sweet or thoughtful gift on these days can add the cherry on top of taking a break from school.

4. Maintain realistic expectations and make smart compromises.
Sometimes, many overachieving collegiettes think it is possible to do it all and are frustrated when they realize this may not necessarily always be true. Don’t expect that everything will be perfect. It’s also important that you two stay on the same page—which is why, once again, communication is key. You both have to be very in tune with each other’s needs. There will be times when sacrifices must be made. Maybe there might be a day where your boyfriend really wants to see or talk to you for some good reason, but you know you still have a lot of work to do. Compromise. Take an hour out of your study schedule for you and him. It’ll most likely help your productivity to finish your work later on. Just remember not to let that hour turn into a whole night or to constantly allow yourself these “exceptions”.

And above all, remember that it’s the little things that count. A sweet text letting your significant other know that you were thinking about them, even if you couldn’t spend time with them, can go a long way. You can even seal it with a kiss.  

Photo Sources: Photo 1 Photo 2

Avianne Tan is a senior at New York University studying journalism and English. As a social justice advocate, feminist and mental health advocate, Avianne aspires to use journalism as a platform to raise awareness and incite positive change. Currently, she is an interactive news intern for WABC-TV NY Channel 7 Eyewitness News at 7online.com. Being a news junkie, she also writes for The News Blog here on Her Campus. When she's not reading or writing news, Avianne loves taking spontaneous adventures, eating new food and relaxing with her pets. Catch Avianne Flu by following her on Twitter and Instagram! To learn more about Avianne, please visit her website at www.aviannetan.wix.com/atan.
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