Students talk about what friendships mean to them, how they balance social lives with academic life
Getting a degree might be the reason that students go through the college application process and stay at their university of choice for another four years, but it’s not the only thing that counts by the end of a student’s college journey. One area of life that students particularly try to maintain in college is a social life.
“Socializing means having a life apart from school and all the other ‘adulting’ aspects,’” said second-year computer engineering major Aman Vinayak. “Having friends or a social circle just makes life a tad bit easier.”
Tiffany Kwan, a third-year transfer student and a managerial economics major, had positive things to say about socializing as well.
“Socializing is connecting with other human beings,” Kwan said. “[Socializing] is pretty important to me, because it is a way to de-stress from the difficulties of this school. It is an integral part of college because you are just constantly around new people, and when you are struggling it’s better to talk to people rather than keep everything to yourself.”
In the day and age of Snapchat and Instagram when students can virtually stay in touch with their friends by watching their Instagram stories, students still manage to find ways to take time out of their busy schedules to cultivate friendships and socialize.
“I have deleted most of my social media so it’s all now face-to-face therefore, I don’t spend any energy on my devices wasting time and not even socializing,” Vinayak said. “I host guests at my house, go to events and that’s how I save time from not being on my devices and focus on school.”
When it comes to meeting people, Kwan found those who fall naturally into her schedule to be suitable companions.
“I socialize with people who are in the same class as I am, or I use socializing as a break from studying,” Kwan said.
Does partying count as socializing? Different students have different thoughts.
“I used to like to party a lot but not anymore,” Vinayak said. “There’s nothing much to it, if you see it’s just blacking out and making snapchat stories. Therefore, I refrain. I like being in smaller groups now as I am getting older. I want to strengthen my relationships rather than having a bunch of people who just know my name, and I can’t have a real conversation with, and who don’t even know much about my life.”
Kwan had similar views on the topic of partying and making genuine connections.
“I feel like partying is not the best way to really get to know people, but rather just a way to let loose,” Kwan said.” I feel like the only way to really connect with people is to be able to have a conversation one-on-one with a person. That is the only way to really get to know what makes a person who they are today. Most people aren’t as willing to open up in a larger group.”
Staying on top of school work, socializing and still prioritizing some “alone time” might be challenging for a lot of college students, but students try to focus on their health while also focusing on academics.
“I prioritize my health and well-being [over socializing].” Kwan said. “[Having alone time] is very important to me, as I am not one who is able to be social all the time.”
Vinayak talked about his health and well being as well.
“I do take quite a bit of me time,” Vinayak said. “It’s unlike me, but this year I have started to focus more on my health and studies, so I socialize quite a bit but retreat as soon as it starts to get overwhelming. I get bored easily so I like being alone sometimes in my thoughts and relaxing.”
Kwan seemed to find that making casual friends versus achieving coveted best friendship were two very different things.
“ I feel like I do easily make friends, but it is harder to find really close friends,” Kwan said. “Friendship is having a person to count on when you need someone to talk to. Also not turning your back on someone even during dark times.”
Vinayak talked about what friendship means to him.
“Friendship means having someone to talk to apart from family and discussing things that may not make sense to anyone else other than you and your friends,” Vinayak said. “A companion who you can share these experiences away from home.”
If socializing and making friends is this important, it is evident that there must be a strategy as to where to find friendships.
“I would consider [rushing a sorority] just because it would be a good way to make friends,” Kwan said. “Don’t be afraid to just go out and find some organization to make friends, because it is likely that there are numerous other people who are having the problems as you.”
Vinayak talked about her college social experience being different than that of high school.
“Keep your ego aside and just go out and meet people,” Vinayak said. “College is a huge, huge place where you are bound to meet people who share the same likes and dislikes as you. It’s essential that you make friends as college is a whole different ball game than high school. Shit gets real out here.”
Written by: Rabiya Oberoi — firstname.lastname@example.org