Maintaining friendships through college difficult but rewarding

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When friends ask me to hang out, I immediately tell myself that I don’t have time. 

When I first started college, it was simple to just send a quick text or call my friends to see how life was going, but the more involved I got with my education, the fewer texts I sent. Now I’m a junior, and I feel like I’m losing friends at a more rapid pace.

It’s no longer about getting to see your friends every day in college like you did in high school. I go to school full time, I have a job, and I’m in a relationship. And I’m sure you know what friends say when you’re in a relationship: “We’ll never see her again since she has a boyfriend now.”  When I actually do have time to spend with friends, I’m too tired to go out or I’m busy helping my family at home.

Now that I’m an adult, I understand I don’t have to see my friends constantly in order to maintain a healthy friendship with them, but it’s still frustrating knowing that my last girls’ night out was months ago. How much time should I really be devoting to my friends?

According to a study done by Ohio State University, between 2009 and 2013, college students devoted 3.3 hours per day to educational activities, and they spent 4 hours per day on leisure activities like sports or hanging out with friends. However, that’s not the case for me. School has become a huge part of my life, and I spend at least 5-6 hours a day on homework or other school related activities. The other part of my day consists of catching up on sleep and worrying about what else I should be getting done.

I began to appreciate even the small moments I could spend with friends like grabbing a quick cup of coffee or catching up over the phone for a few minutes.

An article from Fastweb titled “4 reasons why college friendships are your best investments” suggests spending time with friends and even doing stressful things together like studying for exams. Even little things like walking around campus together are better than not talking to them for a month. For your long distance friends, a call or FaceTime with them probably means a lot more to them than you think. 

Spending even a little bit of time with friends helps reduce stress and gives you something to look forward to. 

Make sure you take little pauses in life to spend time with your friends, even if it means you complete an assignment together the night before it’s due. 

The saying “friends for life” doesn’t mean you have to see your friend every single day. Put in the effort to make sure your friends know you care about them.