What exactly does the term ‘social life’ mean? Partying with friends? Uttering hollow words in response to the equally hollow phrases that a bunch of strangers throw at you in a black-tie affair? Well, both of these in some measure can be called a social life. But in reality, its nothing more than having healthy relations with the people you know, building new ones with the people you meet, and sustaining both new and old relations.

In our enthusiasm to crack the draconian entrance examinations that our Indian Study System has thrown at us, many of us shun our social lives completely for the duration of our preparation period. We smother the part of us that cries out for a reprieve in some form – a small hang-out with friends, dinner with loved ones – and end up listening to the advice of people. The constant pressure from others forces us to quit our social life completely. In this article, we will contemplate over this often-misunderstood, and a much-maligned thing called as ‘social life’ during our exam preparation phase.

Much of the resentment our elders have – and which eventually rubs off on us too – towards social life is because of its false portrayal. It’s often perceived as this wild partying in night clubs, mad head banging at concerts, utterly stupid things done with friends et al. – let’s call it the extremist view. People certainly turn a blind eye to the softer, toned-down versions of socializing – the dinner outings, get-togethers and the occasional movies. Now, let’s talk about our social life during our preparation.

Social Life is Important

You’re done with your 10th standard exams, their results, and the customary holiday with the family. You’re brimming with energy and are full of zeal. You’ve decided to go for engineering or medical streams. After the long vacation, you want to hit the ground running.

You dive headfirst into the huge vortex of studies, tests, results, corrections, more studies and more tests. Great! But it is a vortex, and it’ll tire you out soon enough. The first few months will be spent adjusting to your timetable, keeping up with the gradually increasing workload and trying to grasp the new life. However, once you’re well and truly into your rhythm, things will start getting slightly dull in due course. The continuous cycle of study, eat, sleep, repeat will become somewhat monotonous. You’ll start to miss your school days a bit. And that’s where your social life will help you.

There are two paths beyond this point – follow the same routine, and reach another similar juncture. Or de-stress once in a while and study better. You may indulge in some fun activities once or twice a week. And what could be more fun than catching up with your good old school friends?

Before reading any further, I would urge all of you readers to not wave this article in your parents’ faces, and use it to go out every day with your friends, because that’s NOT what this is about. You need to be focused, and you should take breaks in between. Don’t mistake this article as a license to have fun unconditionally and then take breaks for studying in between.

Friends are the best stress-busters. One meeting with them, and you forget all your hardships. Make use of this effectively. Go out with them; meet up with them. You’ll return with a fresh mind and be able to concentrate more on your studies. Besides, you can sometimes talk to them when you feel low. That’ll really lift your mood! Ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of those distracting friends – especially bad influences. It can hamper your preparations in many ways.

Social life is a very integral part of what you are, and eventually what you become. A good friend circle is important for your overall development. Good friends make your difficult moments better, and your better moments the very best. That aside, socializing plays a huge role in the world today. Social etiquette is probably the most important skill in your arsenal of soft skills. Many things can work in your favor if you have good social skills.

If you give up on your social life during your preparation phase, you can pick up where you left off. However, the discontinuity becomes too large for some to plug the gap in their later years. They become cerebrally shy, aloof; they don’t make friends and hardly leave their rooms. Your aversion to meeting up with old friends is understandable; after all, you are preparing for the toughest undergraduate examinations. However, it is possible to have some fun while in your preparation phase. It will ensure that you are refreshed once in a while when stressed from studies, and also see to it that you have the right manner of talking with people and making them at ease. Trust me – and this will apply for many of you – no one is going to ask you about this examination ten years down the line. What will eventually matter are these small things: the way you dress, behave, project yourself and in general, take care of yourself. While it is entirely possible to develop this once you land in your dream colleges, it does get a bit tough to openly express yourself. At the end of the day, though, it is your call. If you feel that you can go out once in a while with your friends without falling prey to any distractions, you have a great stress buster in your hands.

In conclusion, what I’d like to say is this: your friends are probably the best part of your life besides your family. They help you grow and change. Stick with them, throughout your preparation phase. Just a message in a couple of weeks, maybe a phone call a month, maybe an outing in a couple of months – this is all that is required to keep that connect alive.

This is something parents need to mull over too. They need to decide what the child needs, instead of grounding them just because there are competitive exams. Enforcing discipline during these years is important. But letting loose once a month won’t do much harm.

For all the students out there – study hard with the occasional fun factor. And enjoy responsibly—that is the best bit of advice I can give you regarding your social life!

Cheers!

Social media has a huge impact on us. Be careful not to use it much. And remember to keep the right state of mind while preparing for exams.

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