University is the lily pad of life that bridges high school and professional work. But is that all university is? A period in your existence where you stockpile grades to prove to some future employer or grad school that you’re a smart cookie? Isn’t this the time where we’re supposed to be finding those friends who we’ll still be meeting up with 20 or 30 years into the future?
I’ve mostly lived by the idea that university is a place to obtain a great GPA. Theoretically, I can make friends anywhere, when I’m not paying money for education that will impact my applications to jobs and graduate school. With all that in mind, making friends hasn’t been at the top of my SFU to-do list.
However, as I enter my third year atop Burnaby Mountain, it has slowly dawned on me that friends are just as important. After all, you’re going to school with the next generation of game changers, policymakers, and executives. This is a prime opportunity to make some great connections and try to find some of those ultra-rare friendships that do indeed follow you to the final senior class.
It’s not easy trying to balance a social life and a top-notch educational career — particularly if you’re also working full-time. The key is to try and find people who share your values; the ones who are totally cool with study group sessions on Bennett’s second level, or the ones who join you at Starbucks and Tim’s to have writing wars so those essays get done quickly.
My own balance is about 50 percent school, 25 percent work, and 25 percent friends.
Finding those particular people can be a pain in the ass — not only do you have to actually find them, but you have to talk to them and see if you like each other. Walking up to a group of people in MBC or a club can be absolutely petrifying. I didn’t enter The Peak office for months after I started writing for this wonderful collective. I was incredibly anxious and, honestly, scared of this group of people, who for me were more ideas than actual human beings at the time.
But a lot of those people and others that I’ve met in classes, bonding over medieval literature or shitty Kant puns, share my drive for educational excellence as well as the desire to make friends and meet the people of tomorrow.
My own balance is about 50 percent school, 25 percent work, and 25 percent friends. I feel like this ratio works really well for me, especially when I can overlap school and friends by studying together over sushi or coffee. While I recommend favouring school over friends (because the friends worth keeping will be the ones who understand), this balance isn’t for everybody.
If you’re only here to barely pass your classes, then party it up. SFU has tons of people on campus looking for a good time, and those will be the connections you need to make in order to stay in a drunken stupor for the majority of your degree.
But if you’re trying to get into medical school, law school, or some other post-undergrad life that requires miraculous grades, then it’s just nice to see you surface for an hour or so every week. The only people who see you are the ones in your classes, going to the same MCAT prep courses or sequestered in the same range of bookshelves that house law records.
So study hard, but leave a little room in whatever way you can for friendships, old and new.