Going back to school is one of the most wonderful, hectic times of year, especially if you’re a college student. Between reuniting with friends and absorbing these back-to-school beauty YouTube vids, time can get away from you, and then suddenly, finals are right around the corner. With so much going on (from classes to starting businesses with your besties), it’s easy to feel swamped — which is why it makes sense that a relationship might be the last thing on your mind. If, however, you’re adding a boo to your back-to-school agenda, take heart: There are plenty of ways to integrate your S.O. into your everyday routine.

I'll be waiting right here when you're done

1. Set expectations ahead of time. Start off a fresh semester by having an open and honest conversation about what you want your relationship to look like. While some couples benefit from seeing each other every day, others need their space. By laying down ground rules and expectations before the pressures of the school year, you’ll set yourselves up for academic AND romantic success.

2. Have standing dates. Balancing school, extracurricular activities, friends and a social life can cause your schedule to be unpredictable. Before the craziness begins, set aside one time slot a week to have a meal together so you have guaranteed time to meet face-to-face and catch up.

3. Clue your friends and roommates in. When it comes to being in a relationship in college, communication with friends and roommates is just as important as communication with your S.O. If you have an open forum with your roommates about when and how often your partner can visit your apartment, for example, you’ll prevent a lot of issues that could have happened further down the road.

4. Live separate lives. Being committed to someone doesn’t take away from the fact that college is a place and time to learn to be your own person. This means taking time for yourself: You can still date your partner and learn to live on your own, take a new class, join a new club, go out with your friends and experience everything that your college has to offer.

Young couple having fun while reading books in library.

5. Support each other’s interests. Having separate lives means that you and your boo will hopefully be involved with different activities and friend groups. While these don’t necessarily have to overlap, your relationship will flourish if you support each other’s individual successes. For example, attend your partner’s intramural games and invite him or her to your musical production.

6. Live guilt-free. College is a game of opportunity costs; since there is always something going on, there is always something you’re missing out on. This means that on date night, your friends might be going out — or conversely, you might be out with friends while your S.O. enjoys a night in. If you create separate lives and communicate with those around you, you should never feel guilty for spending time with your partner instead of your friends or your friends instead of your partner.

Have any more tips for balancing a boo with college life? Let us know @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)