Title Card - Managing Friendships After School

Managing Friendships After School

When you’re in school, it feels like all you are IS school. Assignments, studying, exams, extra-credit — these are the instruments the school uses to teach you while also sometimes taking up all of your precious time. You hear a lot about work-life balance, but it’s very rare that you hear about school-life balance due to the nature of consequences for not finishing your schoolwork at the appropriate deadlines. It’s always “suck it up and do it,” because not handing in something has permanent implications on your marks for the rest of the year.

Now, to some degree, there is some of that. That’s just the way that our schooling system is built here in Canada, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. Unless you are willing to relinquish some of your marks for free, not handing in an assignment just isn’t an option. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about how and when you do your assignments.

For this is the crux of the whole topic today: managing your friendships outside of school. Making time for your friends is very important, especially for your personal development and mental health. It follows a similar structure to work-life balance and why everyone champions this phrase. Everyone wants to have friends, but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like you have time for all of them.

Now, if you’re in public school or high school, chances are you will see your friends during recess, lunch break, after school, or between classes. There are also opportunities to join extracurriculars together, or your friends just happened to be made while you were in extracurriculars with them. Whatever the time or reason, these are opportunities to enjoy time with your friends while you’re still on campus: time that you would have spent on campus anyway since you’re already there and are either waiting for your next class or just finished your day. Take these opportunities to seek out your friends and make a point of spending time with them, or opt into going to your extracurriculars instead of skipping it this week.

When I was in university, my friends and I would frequently bring our work to a communal area and we would work on our stuff together, even if we weren’t doing anything particularly “interesting”. Some people need absolutely need silence when they work, and I completely get that, but if you’re someone who still works effectively when other people are around or have music in your ears anyway, sometimes it’s a nice feeling just to have a bunch of your friends around you. You’d be surprised at how much you appreciate their company, and I often look back on these sorts of group study sessions fondly.

I also get it, these types of meetups aren’t going to be as productive as the study sessions when you are by yourself. They’re going to crack jokes or interrupt you in the middle of a train of thought from time to time, but sometimes it’s worth it. I know that even when I had people around me who weren’t saying anything and were completely quiet, I still appreciated them being there.

With proper time management of course, you could just spend quality time with them outright. The FOCUS Inspired blog has lots of places you can start on time management strategies, and it’s all about finding one that works the best for you. Feel free to experiment, and find what motivates you the best, and you will suddenly find yourself with a lot more free time than you had before.

No matter what strategies you use, it is important to make the time. I am so thankful for the friends I have today who continue to be with me well after I graduated, and I know that I can count on them for many things that I am very grateful for today.

School-life balance. What a novel idea.