Tirzah Joy | Staff Writer
Drowning in homework, you, the diligent student, digs into the next essay before you.
“Gotta work, gotta work,” you’ll mumble to yourself.
A brief clear thought escapes, one line of thirty-four words constructing a sentence, then a vibration against your thigh breaks your concentration. The worry lines in your forehead deepen as your teeth clench into your bottom lip with your fingers retracting from the keyboard and into a fist.
“Hey babe, just wondering how you’re doing. Text me later! Love you, bye!”
You love your partner, but they- every time you decide to start your homework- always text, or call. Though their little messages always seem to brighten your day.
Worse yet, another text follows: “Need you to come back to work ASAP, we need someone to close!”
Defeated, you grab your jacket and take one last look at the clear coherent sentence on your document. A sigh escapes your lips as you tap “Save” and grab your work items, before heading out the door. Your footsteps make a nimble sound as you walk down the hallway, but they still rouse your family members who glower at you from whichever room you pass.
A grimace, held on your face, the guilt of another night spent not with them- nor the homework-but actual work. It pays the bills, keeps you surviving, but everyone swears that when they see you on the phone during work, that you’re being lazy.
The truth of the matter is, sometimes, you need Facebook just to catch up with everyone in your life. You keep that phone next to you, ready to text whoever else you may have missed tonight. At the first sight of downtime, you pull that phone out and scroll down your feed- watching once close friends living their lives and feeling distant- almost numb. Everyone you know- living- but you slaving away.
A friend you messaged a week ago hasn’t texted you back. They left you hanging, again. You once used to be close, used to share jokes in class or in the cafeteria. Now that they’re done with college, it almost seems like they’re done with you too.
Another friend hasn’t even bothered to reply back, nor start up another conversation. But you know they have the power to. You would start up the conversation, but every time you’d be left wondering, what on earth to say.
Work- though you work so hard- it’s the time when the weight of all the friendships and relationships gone awry falls upon your head. What’s wrong with me? You mull over that question a bit, before a petrifying reminder settles in. Oh no, that assignment was due tomorrow!
Like a snail, the clock ticks by slowly. Closing time couldn’t come fast enough. When it does, you dash out the door, locking it behind you, run into the car, and drive home. By the time you get home, your eyes are heavy and you feel like death. You walk pass closed doors and hear the sound of family snoring.
Entering into your room, you sit back at your computer and start it up again. That project due tomorrow is still hanging in the air. Somehow, you muster enough energy to work on it some more, but find yourself going back to Facebook again. Your friends are offline, some catching up on sleep you’d die to have right now. Sleep, your brain sighs as eyelids close.
Sleep, until you have to wake up and repeat this over again. Maybe tomorrow you can regain balance.
Does that event sound similar to yours?
Here are some tips in order to keep friends while attending college and the job:
Make a schedule and set aside time for your loved ones, be it family or friends. For instance-why not try to text one person/call a person, you haven’t talked to in a while, once every week. If something reminds you of a person, let them know. In other words, snap a pic, share a post.
Conversations should be consistent. However, be aware it’s not frequency that matters, it’s the content of your messages. If someone doesn’t respond back right away, that’s okay. Let them take their time, but if the recipient takes longer than 3 days to respond, it will show where you two stand in terms of friendships.
Sometimes it’s better to leave certain situations alone and let that person deal with their own issues, that is if they don’t normally talk to you. If they do, though, be aware that you should probably check in on them to make sure they’re okay. Maybe surprise them with a spontaneous visit and gift.
Alex M, an engineering student, advises fellow students to at least once a month or every other week- try to connect with your friends face to face.”
Another student, who wishes to remain anonymous also relates to those with online friendships, to “game with them, set up a time to Skype/Facebook chat on both of your schedules.”
When dining out with friends, play a game with them, put your phones face down on the table and whoever checks their phone first- has to either pay for the entire dinner or for drinks. This can lead to a good laugh, and perhaps may become a routine in your future.
Do not answer to work on your downtime, if you have scheduled the time for friends, honor that and avoid discussion topics relating to a big project you’re working on at work or school. Often the workaholic can only bring up work in their conversations being that work is something that they believe brings true happiness and a sense of satisfaction.
Alyssa, a student going for her generals, sums this up nicely: “Remember work for work; school for school; friends for friends.”
1. Be attentive to the person who is speaking.
2. Distractions during the phone call, can often come across as though you’re distant to the person who’s expressing their concerns.
3. Talking about work can often make people fall asleep or cause them drift towards their phones while face to face.
4. Put the phone down, talk about something other than work, and listen attentively.
Comic Credit: Kristy Dong