Friends are a huge part of college life. Most students actually spend close to 90 hours a week with their friends – compared to just 15 hours in class!
It’s important to spend that time socializing, especially in a high-pressured environment like college. Friends keep us grounded, entertain us, support us, and in general help to keep us sane. Sometimes, though, friends can be a tremendous distraction when what you really want to do is buckle down and study.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You can keep your friends and still ace your exams, without any hurt feelings. Read on for ways to deal with four different kinds of friends who can distract you from your goals.
1. The super-chilled friend
This friend is the most relaxed in your group. They won’t panic or even break a small sweat when they’ve got two papers due and three exams scheduled in the next week. In fact, you’ll barely hear them talking schoolwork at all. That’s because this friend doesn’t care much about getting good grades.
Hanging out with your relaxed buddy is super fun and even calming, but steer clear of this friend when you really need to cram! Study in the library if you need some space, and if this friend pursues you and begs you to leave the books for some fun, simply tell them you’ll be thrilled to join them – once you’re through studying.
2. The party animal
This friend is also super fun – and super distracting. They’re always up for a good time, and with their animated, buoyant personality, you know you’re always in for a rollicking good time and a barrel of fun when they’re around.
While your party animal pal might be great for weekend parties and outings, they likely won’t make the best study partners. When everything turns into fun and games, buckling down to work can take triple the time. Of course, some people know how to get serious when they need to, but most party animals turn everything into a party. Determine which category your fun-loving friend turns into and decide on your own whether studying together is a smart idea.
3. The genius
You know this friend. They’re the one who commits every tiny fact they’ve ever come across to memory – for life. Nothing slips their mind, ever. Your genius friend might be a fountain of random information and they don’t just ace their calculus exams, they understand why it all works. It’s great to have a friend like this, but your smarty pants pal probably won’t need to study much.
There’s no shame in telling this friend that you need more time to prepare for exams or review your notes for class. If you find your friend’s easy studying irksome, distracting or even discouraging, avoid doing your work together or even when they’re nearby. Study alone, and hook up with Einstein again when exams are over.
4. The procrastinator
Similar to your laid-back buddy, the procrastinator will mock your efforts at getting serious about your work. They’ll tell you you’ve got plenty of time left to study or write those papers and that you can always catch up on your cramming, research and writing at the last minute by pulling an all-nighter.
While this approach might work for your friend, don’t feel pressured into tackling your studies the same way. Most people perform a whole lot better when they can study calmly, with plenty of time to go before test day. Showing up for finals with drooping eyelids and a fuzzy brain does not make for the best levels of concentration.
Be the smarter friend and insist on doing your work now – you’ll be glad you did.
You can also try suggesting a more reasonable study schedule for your friend. Show them a doable routine that gets the work done at a healthy, low-pressured pace can be a lot easier and less stressful than a last-minute approach to schoolwork.
Choose your friends wisely. But if your friend doesn’t make the best study partner, you don’t need to stop socializing with them. Gently insist on doing your coursework alone and tell your pal that you’ll be thrilled to hang out with them when you’re through with your work.