Maintaining Relationships and Grades
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College years are a part of the huge transition for students and their lives. It is a hard task to be a college student, steer your way through getting an education, transition to campus life, and especially maintain relationships.
When a student goes off to college, maintaining relationships with people can be stressful, regardless of whether it’s with friends, family members, or romantic partners. One of the reasons that it’s hard to maintain relationships when students come to college is bad communication.
“Without the ability to communicate desires and set rules about relationships and communication styles, it is a setup for conflict,” Administrative Director for Student Health and Counseling at State University of New York at Geneseo Melinda DuBois said.
The student and the other person in the relationship forget that they are each going through a transition to living alone and trying to find their purpose; on the other hand, the other person is having to adjust to that student not being around, or spending less time with them.
Communication needs to flow both ways in a relationship so that both parties involved know the other’s feelings, concerns, what they want, and what will be the best solutions. This way both parties are heard and understand where the other is coming from. This reduces the stress on both parties, and the risk for conflict or confrontation goes down.
“For the vast majority of adults, the biggest danger is repressing or avoiding dealing with conflict, often people avoid asserting their needs for fear of damaging a relationship;” Gary Harper, conflict resolution expert and author of The Joy of Conflict Resolution, said, “But, what damages a relationship is when resentments are repressed and build up and poison the relationship.”
Having good communication in a relationship is good way to make sure that the relationship grows and continues.
“Assert yourself. Communicate in a gentle but direct and firm manner,” Dr. Tina Yang, staff psychologist and clinical coordinator at Texas A&M University-Commerce, said, “Without boundaries, we don’t know where we are in relation to others; our interactions with each other would be chaotic and out of control. [They] help us understand our needs and know what our limits are. Moreover, it helps us develop and maintain healthy relationships.”
To maintain a relationship with others, both parties should be confident in their feelings and emotions and not be worried about the other treating them differently because of it.
“If you have to pretend to be happy when you are angry, then you are not free to express your true feelings,” A&M University-Commerce Counselor and Assistant Director Nick Patras said, “Eventually this forced way of expressing emotions will damage the integrity of the relationship. Healthy relationships are those that allow us to express the full range of our emotions without the fear that it will end the relationship. Healthy relationships have a natural balance of time together and time apart. Each partner is encouraged to have interests, friends, and hobbies outside of the relationship as well as common interests and friends.”
For more information on how to maintain relationships with others while you’re in college, visit the university counseling center.