(How to hold onto your social life as a BCIT student)
I remember my first-day orientation at BCIT so vividly—so many new faces, lots of introductory chatter, and a slight sense of fear. One moment, in particular, stuck with me ever since, and I know many other students can relate.
“Say good-bye to your social life, your job, your boyfriend, maybe even your family! BCIT is tough, and it will take over your life. Grind now, have fun later.”
I remember thinking, “Really? It’s that absurd?” Honestly, going through my program wasn’t as rough as they made it seem. I figured out a healthy social life/school balance, which allowed me to excel in school and go out on the weekends with friends outside my program. Here are some tips that I recommend trying so you can keep your friendships healthy while you’re going through the BCIT grind.
Friends at BCIT
First, you need a foundation in your program. The BCIT cohort system allows you to naturally make a solid group of friends quickly, regardless of how introverted you are. Whether it be through the groups you are put in or who you get along with best, start some group chats on WhatsApp or Facebook. You can help each other out with homework, and share a meme or two. These people will be your rock throughout the program; try to help them as much as they help you.
Send out a Warning
Giving out a warning to your non-BCIT friends would also be a good idea. This may sound odd, but it’s respectful to give your friends a heads up that BCIT will change the way you organize your schedule and that you will be a little MIA. When you talk to them, set up a time every week that you can save for socializing and that you can be fully present for. I used to keep Saturday nights open for my friends. We would rotate between playing board games, going to local breweries, or trying a new restaurant downtown—this was something that I always looked forward to. It kept me motivated throughout my program.
If most of your non-BCIT friends aren’t local, consider joining a club or running as a representative in the student association. I like to be busy, so throughout my post-secondary journey, I’ve joined various clubs and communities. This helps me meet new people and have something productive to work on when homework is the last thing on my mind. Check out club’s day on September 22 to learn more about the opportunities at BCIT.
Keep an Eye on Your Time
Next, you have to choose a time management system that best suits your organizational style. Some examples include a planner, a bullet journal, Google Calendar, and iCal. I personally like to use iCal because it syncs up all my calendars on all my Apple devices. Separate your calendars into categories such as School, Personal, Clubs, and Exercise so you can visually see how you are distributing your time throughout the day. To ensure you have social time, physically block it in! This will keep you accountable and show you that it is possible to fit this in your schedule. Also, are you really doing schoolwork after 8 PM on a Saturday?
Understand your priorities and treat social time like booking an appointment or penciling in study blocks. A social life at BCIT is possible if you organize yourself accordingly.