Tips for Maintaining a Social Life in University

One of the biggest challenges of university is finding ways to balance a social life with your academics. University is a time when you meet a lot of people, and potentially even make lifelong friends, so it’s easy to feel pressure from social commitments and opt to spend your time with friends instead of studying. Or, maybe you’re someone who feels like you spend all your time on school work, and the social aspect of your life suffers.

Whatever your situation, it is SO important to maintain a social life in university while balancing your school commitments. I know from personal experience that when I spend all my time on school work, I start to feel isolated and lonely. Even more so, spending time with friends and doing something fun helps me relax from all the stress of school.

Clearly, it’s super important to integrate a social life with your academic life. Easier said than done, right? Luckily, I have some tips that have helped me balance a social life throughout my four years at UVic.

Compare class schedules

One of the easiest ways I have made sure to see my friends throughout the week is by comparing class schedules. At the beginning of a new semester, my friends and I send our schedules in a group chat, so that we can look for gaps when we can meet up—even if it’s just for half an hour in between classes.

I always save their schedules to my camera roll so that I can refer back to them and reach out when I think we might be free at the same time. Meeting up with friends in those little pockets of time — which, let’s be honest, you won’t be getting any school work done in anyways — make my week so much brighter.

Ella, Aideen, and I meeting up in-between classes!

Book group study rooms

It can be challenging to meet up with friends on campus when it’s hard to find a place to sit with them, especially during the winter when the weather is too cold to sit at a table outside.

Because of this, my friends and I started booking group study rooms in first-year. They’re quiet, guarantee you a place to sit with friends, and give you enough space to spread out all your laptops and other school supplies. I recommend booking at least a couple days in advance, because they book up fast, especially during peak times.

UVic Group Study Room booking system

Have a standing “date” with friends

Our movie club picks so far

If you and a friend (or a group of friends) are able to find a time in your schedule that generally works to chat each week, pencil that in as a standing “date.” Even if you use that time for just a quick FaceTime or call, if you have it as a weekly time, you’ll be expecting it, and can therefore plan your school work and other commitments around it.

For example, my group of friends and I have started a movie club. Each week, someone in the group picks a new movie, and then we meet — either on FaceTime or in-person, where possible — to talk about it.

We are by no means super knowledgeable film people, but it gives us a chance to see each other and touch base every single week. Even if we spend ten minutes talking about the movie and another hour laughing about other stories or making other plans, the standing “date” has brought us together. Also, it gives us an opportunity to talk to our friend who’s on an exchange and in a different time zone.

Maybe a movie club isn’t your thing, but if you can find something to tie your friends together each week, you’ll start to feel that your social life is much more balanced.

Talk to people in your classes

Tia and I filming a Tiktok for our ENGL 407 class

This is a HUGE one. That ten minutes before your class begins can start to feel very long if you’re sitting there alone, but it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and make friends in your program.

I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made just from starting a conversation with the person next to me before class begins, and I’ve been able to carry those friendships through class discussions, group projects, future courses, and most importantly, outside of the class.

Plus, having a friend in your classes can make the time you spend in class—and university in general—more enjoyable.

Make a friends bucket list

There’s nothing worse than finally finding time to get together with friends and then facing the dreaded question — what should we do? To make this easier and make your social life feel more balanced, I suggest creating a “bucket list” with your friends of things you want to do together.

Painting pottery at Fired Up! studio

This can be as simple as cooking dinner together, or more complicated, like taking a trip during reading break. And it doesn’t have to be formal!

You don’t have to write it down, unless you want to. Even if it’s just a mental list of ideas of things you want to do with your friends, it’ll be easier to make plans and make the most of the time you spend together when you do have free time.

For example, my friends and I have been wanting to go paint pottery for a while, so one weekend we decided to go to Fired Up! Studio. We spent a couple hours painting and then got to bring our ceramics home a week later. It was super fun!

I hope these tips helped—what are your tips for maintaining a social life in university?

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