While preparing for your future and choosing a meaningful career are usually the main reasons people attend college, it's also important to have a social life. You can't -- and shouldn't -- spend all your time behind your books. In fact, students who successfully integrate social activities into their lives usually have an easier time with academics, according to the University of New South Wales.
Stress relief is one of the key benefits of having an active social life. College can be one of the most stressful times of your life, with worrying about the future, cramming for exams, completing assignments on time and making sure that you achieve the best grades possible. Everyone needs to let loose and unwind from time to time. Too much stress can result in feelings of anxiety or irritability, decreased quality of sleep and other troublesome symptoms. Socialization helps create a sense of belonging, promotes feelings of connectedness and alleviates loneliness, according to MentalHelp.net.
Befriending your fellow classmates doesn't just make your classes more enjoyable; it might actually help improve your grades. It's often easier for some people to study in groups, so having social contacts who share your classes can make it easier to form study groups. Working with your peers might help you grasp the material more deeply, help you take better notes and increase your motivation, according to the University of Michigan. You can also enlist the help of your classmates if you miss a class and need to borrow notes or catch up on assignments.
During college, many people form some of their most meaningful, long-lasting friendships. Friends who have stuck with you through the thick and thin of college life might be some of the best friends you'll ever make. And there's nothing like being able to call up an old friend to reminisce about the good times you shared in college. According to a Purdue University study, having a shared history, like attending college together, can help establish the bonds for strong lifelong friendships. This is especially important since it can be harder to make meaningful connections during adulthood due to increased geographical and personal distance and the influence of technology and the media.
Improved Physical Health
You might be surprised to learn that socialization can also result in some significant benefits to your physical health. During college, many people unknowingly cut back on taking care of their health by sleeping too much or too little, eating more unhealthy foods, increasing their alcohol intake and reducing their daily physical activity. While socialization isn't necessarily a cure for poor lifestyle habits, it may help you feel better in the long run. According to Value Options, people with strong social ties tend to experience reduced blood pressure, fewer colds and lower heart rates than their less-social counterparts.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.