Boundaries are a form of self-care and allow you to make decisions for yourself within your own comfort. It can fall into the following categories such as emotional, physical, workplace and time.
How to Set Boundaries?
It can be hard setting boundaries, whether it’s with friends, family members or classmates. College students make decisions daily and it’s not easy to say no.
A scenario would be if a friend asked you to go out, but you know you shouldn’t because you have to study for an exam. It’s important to think about the consequences before making a decision. In this case, you are well aware that if you don’t study for the exam, you can get a bad grade.
Setting boundaries can be as simple as asking your friends to schedule a hangout a week in advance, giving you time to complete important assignments and tasks.
Another example is when you have a group project, and a group member hasn’t completed their part. You have other assignments due, but you end up doing your team member’s part because you don’t want to get a bad grade for the project. This situation often happens to students and it can be hard to speak up and set boundaries.
As a busy student, it is important to communicate with your group members as early as possible to avoid problems the day before the project is due. You can set a boundary by having everyone complete their part by a specific date so you all can look over it as a group.
How can it help?
Being a college student can be challenging when you have responsibilities at school, work and home. Setting boundaries will allow you to prioritize what’s most important. It can also help your mental health and prevent you from burnout. For example, if your boss asks you to work a shift you weren’t scheduled for during finals week, you should set a boundary if your schedule is hectic.
Dana Ly, a recent graduate from Drexel University, had difficulty managing her mental health and academics during college. She still struggles with mental health but found ways to cope.
“What has helped me besides getting professional help is setting boundaries with my parents. My parents work at a Chinese takeout restaurant and oftentimes need me to help at night. It was hard to manage my mental health on top of school and work. I told them I couldn’t help them anymore and would have to figure it out themselves. Even though that made them very unhappy, it was important for me to set that boundary,” Ly explains.
Although Ly’s decision made her parents unhappy, she set boundaries and knew what was best for her mental health.
It can be hard to set boundaries when you don’t want to offend others, but you should put yourself first at the end of the day. Learning to set boundaries can be a great skill to have after college, especially in the workplace.