An adjustment change that many graduate students have to go through is figuring out how to balance their social lives and academic lives. Undergraduates have plenty of opportunities to be social, but grad students have a much heavier work load, and therefore, less time. However, there are still a number of ways you can have a healthy social life while in grad school.
Manage Your Time
Similarly to how you deal with schedule changes in grad school, balancing many events in your calendar is important. Sometimes, you’ll need to make a tough decision, such as deciding between studying for a test or seeing old friends. One way to handle seeing friends or family less is by scheduling and managing your time well. After writing out when you have classes, study time, and work duties, you’ll then be able to see those free times and decide how you want to spend them. To get a better idea of changes in social lives and changes in other aspects of grad school, take a look at this article on idealist.org.
Maintain Your Relationships
It’s no secret that graduate school takes a lot of time away from personal lives and relationships. Depending on how far you are into grad school, you might be finding that being a grad student can take a toll on your relationships with your spouses, children, friends, and other family members. Hopefully, most, or all, of your close family and friends are supportive of the hours you spend on campus and the time it takes to study each week. However, a discussion with loved ones who don’t always understand why school time has to take away from home time might also help them adapt to your new schedule. Read some of PhDStudent’s articles about maintaining relationships if you and others are still struggling with this issue.
Create New Relationships
In addition to the possibility of strained relationships with people you care about most, you will also need to learn how to juggle new relationships with classmates and faculty. Part of adjusting to grad school includes collaborating with people you’ve never met before, so this transition goes much easier if you introduce yourself to classmates early and develop relationships before starting projects with them. These new relationships are important because the people you see in your classes everyday are going through the same things you are going through, and they’re extremely understanding of your grad school woes; also, they are some of the only people you’ll know from your field before facing the real world.
As you can see, your social life can be negatively or positively affected because of the relationships that could be strained and the new relationship that you can gain. How has your social life been affected by graduate school? Do you have any stories (good or bad) that you can share?