Balancing School, Relationships Can Be a Challenge

As you flip through the pages of the GCC catalog you’ll never find Relationships 101 or Love 120. But just like math and English, relationships are part of our every day lives.

Individuals have their own view of how relationships may or may not affect studies. Some state that relationships will cause many problems and others argue that relationships do not affect studies whatsoever.

Psychology professor Jessica Gillooly believes that relationships affect studies in two ways.

As long as one’s partner is supportive then there is a positive outcome. The partners must understand that as students, one must allow the other sufficient time to study.

If they are both pursuing their education, then they can both benefit from the relationship. They may study together and help one another reach their goals. “Together they can move toward their degree,” Gillooly said. In other words, the main factor is support.

However, relationships can also have a negative influence on a student’s studies.

“If one person values education and the other doesn’t, then their priorities are split,” Gillooly said. In this case, the partner will have a negative affect on the student causing him or her to fall behind in school.

“Parents can also make it difficult for students to maintain good grades. Some parents do not understand what college is all about and may interfere in their children’s education,” Gillooly said. Parents may question students’ use of time, particularly if they spend many hours in their rooms reading.

According to the context effect theory in psychology, students have a tendency to do better in school when they study in the area where the information was first presented.

“I advise students to study outside of their homes. They can go to the library on campus or any other library, study groups, and there are always empty classrooms on campus,” Gillooly said.

According to some students, relationships are a big mistake during college years.

“All your attention is set on the relationship rather than focusing on studying for your exams,” said Angelica Kyurkchyan, 19, a criminal justice major. Kyurkchyan believes that a relationship will dramatically affect a student’s work habits.

It may start off with missing a class or two, then progress to failing exams, and may even result in dropping out.

“If you have a fight with a boyfriend or girlfriend, you can fall behind in classes and cannot concentrate during a lecture or even attend class,” said Kyurkchyan. Most people put everything they have into a relationship in order to keep it going and are blinded to the fact that they are losing in other areas.

Although relationships may take away from studies, other students disagree with this thesis.

“I think it depends on the person and not all relationships result in a decline of grades,” said Lusine Khachikyan, 20, liberal arts. “No two individuals are alike.”

“Even though at times the person’s entire attention is set on the relationship, it is useful because some people need the support that their boyfriend or girlfriend can give,” said Khachikyan. Some students need to understand that they too are strong individuals and do not have to rely on another person in order to succeed, even though in some cases it is useful to have a support system.

A number of students may have a hard time balancing everything when they are suddenly in a relationship, whereas before studies were their top priority.

Therefore, relationships can either adversely affect your studies or can take the place of a support system for those who need it.

According to an eHow article (, “being a good student doesn’t mean you have to drop everything else. It’s possible to have a healthy social life while earning good grades. It’s all about balance.”

Generally, anything else added to a student’s life can affect a student’s school performance. For example, anything else that will take up time outside of school, or change what he or she is thinking about and concentrating on during school will alter how a student may perform.

In other words, students must have the ability to balance their studies and relationships in order to have a positive outcome in both cases.