Balancing Relationships and School

Love is in the air on this special day of the year. Couples and friends may spend this day together by going out to dinner, watching a rom-com, or simply not celebrating the day. I will be celebrating the day in class, but also Facetiming my partner at night. Being in a long-distance relationship on Valentine’s Day is obviously not the most ideal situation, but we make the distance work! Being in a relationship, especially long distance, has taught me to cherish the good times when we are together. This also teaches me how to balance my relationship while also being a college student.

Eric Kaighn, LPC and Assistant Director of Counseling and Prevention Services, commented, “Maintaining romantic relationships are difficult to maintain at times while in college, for sure. Romantic relationships, like all relationships, require attention and care. An apt metaphor is trying to keep your houseplant alive. You need to water it, give it sunlight, and keep it in an environment conducive to its growth. For relationships, that can look like communication, quality time together, and reminding each other that they are a priority even if there are other aspects of life draw attention away from the relationship.”

I have gathered some tips over the course of a five-year (including two years being long distance during the academic year) relationship that I am sure will help anybody who is having trouble balancing their relationship and college.

1. Communicate with your partner
Communication within a relationship is absolutely essential! Partners should share each other’s schedules so that they know when to text or call you. This also prevents arguments and gives ample time to come to an agreement regarding when to call each other. Random things come up throughout the day, and I believe it’s best to tell each other if something comes up in advance.

Kristen McCarty, LCSW, from Monmouth’s Counseling and Prevention Services, commented, “Effective communication and scheduling regular ‘check-ins’ with your parent to ensure both partners are feeling supported and getting their needs met while still prioritizing self and responsibilities. Effective communication, in my opinion, is the number 1 solution to healthy relationships.”

2. FaceTime enough, but not too much
Facetiming or calling each other truly helps make you feel like you’re physically with your partner. While this is great to do, making time for yourself is also extremely important. Self-care and hanging out with friends create balance within your romantic relationship, plus help to talk about other friendships with your partner.

3. Be invested in your partner’s college experience and potential career
Being supportive of your significant other’s decisions creates a supportive and safe environment. Know your partner’s courses, schedule, and what career they want to go into. This creates a conversation and builds the support each other needs while navigating college. Be excited about accomplishments along the way!

Kaighn continued, “Partners need to be able to speak openly and honestly, respect their partner’s positions, and be willing to find compromises (even if only temporary) in order to maintain their relationship during stressful moments.”

4. If you have the opportunity to visit your partner’s college, take the trip there!
This goes back to my previous tip about being invested in your partner’s college experience. Going to their college, meeting the friends I’ve heard so much about, and seeing the campus in real-time, is a fulfilling and memorable experience. Everybody’s circumstances are different, and this opportunity may not be possible, however, I believe this will create new memories and show support.

5. Everyone should make time to do homework!
Personally, college is something my partner and I take very seriously. We strive for good grades and have passion for our majors. Having good communication regarding homework time leaves both of us not feeling as stressed about homework. Plus, your partner will be able to tell if you are stressed about your homework.

Throughout the past few years I’ve been with my partner, we have worked together to create a balance within our relationship while also being involved in our academics and activities. If you take anything from this article, please know that you got this! Balance is extremely important, and you should also be happy and fulfilled.