If you're going to juggle, I recommend that you start with something small—like potatoes! Drop one of 'em and you've got mashed taters for dinner. Drop your studies or a relationship, and someone's bound to lose a little skin.
Jokes aside, many of us have struggled with this dilemma. Grades are important but so are your relationships. Finding time for a significant other while staying on top of school work is hard, no matter which way you slice it.
Before getting serious with someone, ask yourself, "Is that romance in the air…or just the sweet smell of french fries?" It's important to gauge your interest in the other person, before making too many lifestyle changes. Is this relationship founded on love and mutual respect, or on a craving for companionchip? If you find that you desire the relationship more than you are devoted to it, you're probably better off focusing on your schoolwork. But if you've been going steady and you're willing to poutine the effort, a relationship can be tüber rewarding.
While juggling a boyfriend and books is not as easy as juggling taters, try these tips to make it just as much fun!
Make a schedule. It's a lot easier to organize your time when you have a clear plan. Sync your Google calendars, but be realistic about how much time you can spend together. It's helpful to know one another's agenda so that you don't text your boyfriend during class or stop by his room when he's interning at the lab. Remember to leave room in your schedule for movie nights with friends or your favorite yoga class.
Prioritize. Schoolwork will sometimes get in the way of your relationship. If you aren't flexible, this can be really stressful. Despite your best efforts to plan ahead, things happen. When unexpected assignments pop up or deadlines change, try studying together and interspersing work time with relationship time! Ultimately, you came to Columbia for an education and in the battle of books vs. boyfriends, books have to win!
Communicate. You will inevitably experience frustration with your workload, and that stress can create tension in your relationship. Remember that you can't solve a problem if you don't communicate with your partner. When you are feeling overwhelmed, let your boyfriend know. Instead of pushing him away or acting cold toward him emotionally, ask him to support you—this will make him feel comfortable doing the same. Remember that the best support is subtle or "invisible." Giving help behind the scenes will boost your partner's mood without making him feel indebted to you.
Be inventive. A date doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. Some of the best and most memorable dates are simple. Spice up dining hall meals together by taking them to go for a picnic in Riverside Park. Add some flavor to your study routine by getting off campus and trying a new coffee shop or café together!
Using a little creativity and forethought, it's completely possible to have a successful relationship without feeling like you're wedged between spending time together and spending time on your studies.
Mother Potato is a Columbia College junior dressing up as Darth Tater for Halloween. Keep posting your thoughts and questions here, and stay tuned for weekly responses.