Maintaining a balance during the school year can be tricky, and it gets even harder when it’s crunch-time for exams. When you are prioritizing your studies, good communication with your friends and family, as well as setting healthy boundaries, can be just as important as studying the material. To set proper social boundaries during your study times, you can:
Planning ahead is one of the best ways to set your social boundaries. If you know that you have a big exam coming up, add it to your calendar. If there are any important dates, such as birthdays, that you want to keep clear, block it off in your planner and schedule study sessions around it. This way, when social events come up, you can alert your friends about when you will be busy. Informing those around you that you have limited time available will help them respect your time. With enough notice, any social events can be likely be scheduled around your study times, meaning you don’t have to miss out either. Time-management is all about making your time work for you, and not the other way around. Use time-management apps and tools to improve your performance when preparing for an exam.
Schedule Offline Times
We all have friends or family that are glued to their phones and constantly “checking in.” Sometimes it’s tricky to avoid their messages without seeming rude. Set the expectation that you aren’t available 24/7 by letting them know that you will not check in while you are studying and that you will reach out during times when you are not busy. You may still get notifications, though, which are distracting in itself. Instead of having to ignore each message, switch off your phone during your study sessions. It may seem like the beeping and pinging is harmless, but each one of those interruptions can potentially derail your studying by as much as half an hour. Once you have a break, you can reply and respond.
Communicate Your Needs
Open communication is one of the most important aspects of setting boundaries. When your friends and family understand your goals and needs, they are more likely to be accepting of your boundaries. Explain your study style to your friends and family, and tell them how they can support you in reaching your goals. We can all learn from each other, and maybe they have a few study tips that can help you improve your methods.
Go Big or Go Home
If you are used to spending time with friends individually, it might help to plan bigger events where you can see more of them at once. For instance, instead of catching a movie with one friend, plan a social event or party and invite all of them. Although this sort of event can be overwhelming, it will allow you to interact with more friends at once and allow you to spend more days focusing on your studies.
Study with a Group
If you have a few friends that are prepping for the same subject, you could form a study group. Make sure that there is a clear structure in place so that it doesn’t turn into an inefficient social event. You can take turns to host the study session. Set a time for these group study sessions and make sure you stick to the rules you have set in place.
Include Friends in Your Routine
Managing your socialize life can maybe feel like just another “to-do” during exam time. One way to make it effortless is by including friends into your routine. Do you plan on exercising regularly during the weeks in which you are studying? Why not invite a friend for a run? Part of setting boundaries is being consistent, but still showing flexibility when it comes to relationships. Figure out which of your tasks can be a bit more social and ask your friends to join in during exam time.
Socializing doesn’t have to take an entire day. You can stay in touch with your friends by chatting with them online or planning a video call during your breaks. Instead of seeing someone for hours on end, you can schedule a 30-minute chat to touch base. These options also mean that you spend less time traveling, freeing up even more time. Finding alternative ways to socialize will help spend time with the important people in your life while managing your schedule efficiently.
Invest in a Tutor
It may seem odd, but tutoring could also satisfy your social needs. Sometimes your friends may not be distracting you, but you are seeking to distract yourself with social events. If you are the social type, tutoring could be the best of both worlds for you. You can still interact with someone else and put your studies first. Tutors are very personable, and you may be surprised that you can have a lot of fun and get things done as well with the right guidance.
If you are struggling to communicate your needs and boundaries during study times, Strive Academics is right here to give you some advice and tips. Remember, your future is in your hands, and how you manage your time, social schedule, and lifestyle can really set you up for success in the long run.