College can be one of the most stressful and hectic times in a person’s life. We’re all worried about classes and assignments and trying to maintain a personal life outside of classrooms.
As a senior, the stress level can increase even more. Now you’re worried about trying to apply for jobs and figure out where your life is going after graduation day, on top of everything else.
It all has the potential to wear on a relationship, especially a romantic one. Oftentimes, it becomes too easy to put all of your focus into academic and career goals, leaving your significant other behind. We forget that personal relationships are every bit as important as professional goals.
The Collegian talked to students and a licensed marriage and family therapist to compile some advice about how to best find that balance between the responsibilities of impending graduation and your romantic relationship:
Realize that while getting a job and finding your place in the real world is important, so is the happiness and support that comes from your relationship. Sometimes work and school have to come first, and sometimes your relationship should come first. There is time for both, trust us. You just have to find it.
Swap schedules and communicate
We know that planning times to be together and scheduling dates has the potential to remove spontaneity, but it’s a good way to ensure you are giving both your work and your partner the time they deserve.
Michele Musseau, a graduating sociology major, says that sharing schedules and planning are vital in her relationship. With her boyfriend living in South Carolina, they have the added challenge of long distance.
“We have to schedule when we can can Skype and when we have tests and need to study,” she said. “Working around each other’s schedules is really important and communication is huge.”
Support each other
According to Ashley Harvey, a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in adult attachment in romantic relationships, times of transition like this can cause us to feel vulnerable and look to our partners for support and comfort.
“Our attachment needs kind of activate and in some ways we have higher expectations from our relationships,” she said.
According to Harvey, most people either pull away and don’t open up to their partners, or go the opposite way and hold on too tight, coming across as clingy or overwhelming.
“We all tend to go one direction or the other,” Harvey said. “We just have to try to keep ourselves a little less extreme on either withdrawing or getting overwhelming.”
Harvey also makes sure to emphasize that it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed and in need of comfort during stressful times and that it’s important to be aware of those needs.
“Most of the time what we need isn’t someone to make it all better, but someone to be there,” she said. “We just need to know we can find them and they’ll be with us.”
Find what works for you
Every relationship is unique and works in its own weird way. Find a groove that works for you and go with it, whether that means you study together every night, only see each other on weekends, or somewhere in between.
“Keep working to find the balance,” Musseau said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. Do what works for both of you and run with it because every relationship is different.”
Collegian Entertainment Writer McKenna Ferguson can be reached at email@example.com.