College: Where School Became Home

College by Hope Kahn – Photo by Auden Yurman

Five Tips on How to Balance School With a Social Life in College

In high school, I went to school Monday through Friday from seven a.m. to two p.m., practiced lacrosse from three to five, went home to complete homework, and finally went to bed around 11 o’clock. On the weekends, I would see my boyfriend, work for a few hours, and do some more homework. School was school, and home was home.

Now, my school is my home. That’s the thing about living at college; everything just gets jumbled together. I no longer have a seven-to-two school day. This past semester, I didn’t even start class until two on Mondays. I am living a less than 10-minute walk to my classes and my friends.

So, after earning a 4.0 GPA and making a great group of friends, I thought I would share five tips I’ve picked up on how to prioritize my academics, but also maintain a social life.

  1. Do homework in-between classes
    While it might sound more appealing to take a nap or lounge with friends during the three-hour gap in-between your classes, that’s not the route to go. On Wednesdays I had a class at 10, but then not another until two. I wouldn’t let myself go back to the dorm, no matter how tired I was. I would plop myself down in a chair in my favorite building and would use that time to get work done.
  2. See your friends for dinner
    Especially on a Wednesday after I spent three hours working by myself, I would make sure I ate dinner with friends. Eating together is a great way to focus on your social life while academics remain your priority.
  3. Balance your weekends
    Weekends in college can be great, but balancing school responsibilities in the midst of a fun-filled college weekend is hard for some. I got lucky. My friends and I all prioritize school, so we spend most weekends in study rooms. But here’s the thing: I still consider that socializing. Find friends to study with at college because then you’re easily balancing school responsibilities with a social life.
  4. Get involved
    College presents an array of clubs and organizations, and honestly, that seemed a little overwhelming to me. In high school I was no stranger to getting involved, so what happened here? I formed a group of friends, and I didn’t want to miss out on doing stuff with them. But as I started to get involved with student organizations, I realized that I was doing what I wanted to do all while forming new friendships with people. Getting involved might not be directly benefiting your academics, but it sure can help develop skills and ideas while simultaneously developing your social life!
  5. Wash your hands
    This one might seem a little silly, but I promise it makes sense. Getting sick sucks wherever you are, but especially while you’re at college. It makes focusing hard and being around people unenjoyable. Washing your hands seems like a small, insignificant daily task, but trust me, every little bit helps. Take care of yourself and your body as you transition into college life.

I love that college is my school and my home, and hopefully with these tips you’ll love it too.

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Hope Kahn
Hope Kahn is a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying multiplatform journalism. She was a reporter for The Trace’s “Since Parkland” project and has had work published in The Diamondback, Ms., and The New York Times.
Accompanying photo by Auden Yurman