It’s a new school year, and you’re at a new school. There are people all around you who are in the same boat, and this is a great opportunity to make some new connections and friendships. But where do you start? You have a lot of homework, resume editing, and networking to do…where’s the time for being social?
Where to start is the easy part is the easy part; new people are all over this building. If you are a bit shy or intimidated, look at it as an exercise in stepping outside your comfort zone. I promise this will come in handy once the career search becomes part of your normal routine. The most social people in the class will begin to organize get-togethers and fun outings and invite everyone. Even if you don’t know many people there, or if you are busy and it’s more convenient for you to stay home…just go. I can almost guarantee you will have a great time and your experience in Syracuse will be that much more exciting.
As for balancing this new found social life with all the demands of the program, that’s a bit tougher, but it’s not impossible by any means. The time is there – I promise! The thing is, you need to do it on purpose. If you are just waiting and waiting to have a little extra time to devote to making and spending time with your friends, it will never come. Something new always presents itself that can steal away free time you are simply “waiting for.” You need to make a specific effort to do social things despite having other things to do. Perhaps you block off every Friday and Saturday after 5PM. Maybe you make a promise to yourself to go to every home football game. Maybe you allot 8 hours a week to social endeavors. Or perhaps you simply accept or give one invitation per week to do something with some new friends. You can even look at it as a networking duty, since the people in your program will remain in your network for the rest of your life. Whatever works for you and gets you started on the social life path, go for it. It will become second nature after a few weeks, and then you won’t even have to think about actively balancing anymore.
There are, of course, lots of other things you can do to make sure your time is balanced – use an academic planner actively, try not to procrastinate, etc. These things will help too, but the number one thing you need to do in order to find and balance a social life is to want to find and balance a social life. It has to be on purpose, and it will be worth it…I promise!