Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Supporting your partner during school: tips, tricks and lots of love!

            It’s that time of year again… school. While I can say I am a bit relieved to be done with my long road of obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I know many of you reading this are either in the process or have also completed your time as well (and if that’s the case, congrats!). However, whether you are in school or out of school, you know that nothing is more important than having not emotional support to get you through those sleepless nights or those anxiety filled days. Knowing someone is there on the sidelines cheering you on is the best feeling! Having a relationship in college can be hard, but dating someone who is still in their undergrad, grad, medical school, law school, etc. can be even more tough.

            So, we all know that mutual support throughout college is pretty important. However, my boyfriend’s definition of support was way different than mine! Maybe gender roles play in a bit here, and that’s okay, (boys are also slower. Duh). I also noticed that a lot of these tips also transcended into when my boyfriend had not graduated yet and I had. Nothing beats knowing you are there for your SO, even when you are going through a stressful time. 

            During this pandemic, I have found myself still in the bubble of supporting my SO while he studies for his MCAT exam in January. While medical school is an option at the moment, I know that being there for him during that time in his life is going to be absolutely crucial!

            If you feel like you’ve run out of ideas, here are a few things I came up with during my time in college that always made my boyfriend feel the love and support! 

            1. Cook them a nice dinner (if you have the time!)

            Nothing beats a day of studying or coming home from an exam like a nice homecooked dinner. It does not need to be fancy by any means, even coming up with a simple macaroni and cheese (not in the box!!) recipe from Pinterest will make them happy. Just like Princess Tiana says, “a way to a man’s heart, is through his stomach.”

            However, even when our schedules did clash on the stress scale, I still took the time out of my night to make dinner for us both. It truly gave us time to unwind, and set aside all the heavy workload both mentally and physically in the textbooks and be there together. 

            2. Try and figure out creative ways to motivate them (or both of you) to study!

            Maybe there’s a fun happy hour down the street, or that new movie you both wanted to watch! Having goals to motivate you both to get the work done is always the key to success… by creating that metaphorical finish line for both of you, there’s a lot more to look forward to.

            3. Send them a text before their big exam!

            The one thing my boyfriend always looked forward to before taking an exam were my good luck texts. Just like any normal student, he always had the biggest anxiety before an exam. I’d send texts in masses, with bitmojis, gifs and words of encouragement to bring a smile to his face. Having that feeling of knowing they are smiling before an exam, and have a bit of relief is not only heartwarming, but also reminds you of why you’re both in this together!

            4. Listen and comfort

            The one thing that I can really say is important, is listening and comforting. Any student can have their moments of self-doubt, and feel as if they are not enough. Who hasn’t been there? Having a partner is all about being there for them, both physically and emotionally. So if there are any moments where they seem agitated, tense, or even sad… help them put down their materials to talk it out. Go on a walk, dance around to some music. Find ways to get them out of their head and realize they are enough! Love and laughter is always the best medicine.

            5. Try and switch locations up!

            What always seemed to help us get through college was the fact that we both had our own places, but what was even cooler as we had places in the same building. Anytime we had study hall, we’d either study at my apartment and do dinner at his, or vice versa. A change in environment keeps things fresh, so go explore! If I had any tips, hit up your school library or coffee shop!

            6. Use your majors to each other’s advantages

            I graduated with a English and Psychology degree while my boyfriend graduated with a degree in Biology. Talk about two ends of the spectrum! What was great, was while I was not that great of a test taker or one to make good study habits (since all I did was write papers in English), my boyfriend had the upperhand in knowing how to study for those dreaded tests. Once I added psychology in my senior year (suicide, I know), he truly helped me navigate ways of understanding complex scientific terms, and how things worked in the brain. Without him, I would have truly been lost.

            While, on the other hand, anytime he had a paper to write, I always took the time to edit and give my thoughts. We used each other well for our classes, and it ended up helping us both succeed in the end, all while learning more about what we were both studying.

            7. Surprise them with little gifts

            One of my love languages is gift giving, and I always loved surprising my boyfriend at the end of each semester with something meaningful. It was never too much money, or something too small as well. Yet, it did show how much I appreciated both his support with helping me throughout the semester, and how much I supported and loved him throughout that time as well! From a candy bar, dinner on you or a nice watch, get something you can afford and something that will be appreciated.

            I hope this helped a bit with relationships during those dreaded college years. Remembering that the only thing that truly got us through our days was knowing that we were loved and supported made college all the more bearable. I wish you both luck with your endeavors!

            What tips do you have when supporting your SO?

            XO,

            A

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