There’s a joke about college that goes: “grades, social life and sleep. You only get to pick two.” But really, it’s more complicated than that. Last quarter alone, I had to deal with scheduling time to work, finding and applying for summer internships as well as keeping in shape.
In between not failing, making and spending money, maintaining my relationship with friends and not becoming unhealthy, I don’t know if I have time to even think about dating. Grades, sleep, social life, money, future, dating; pick two. Does dating even fit in there? We’re supposed to be at college to learn anyway, right? Maybe the single life is the way to go for college.
Well, most of the learning I’ve done has been outside the classroom, whether it’s been my experiences with people, at work or elsewhere. So forgoing dating just so you can get better grades isn’t the best idea.
We’re also here to grow as people and figuring out the kind of person you enjoy spending time with is an important part of who you are. It’s entirely possible to date, get good grades and have fun with the correct time management — don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
So, even with the time commitment, dating is going to happen. That’s what you get when you thrust tens of thousands of people of the same age into a couple of square miles and tell them to study, live and socialize together. The problem is, college isn’t the best place to form healthy long-lasting relationships. Why is college not the best place to fall in love? Well, it’s hard to notice but college and campus life are very specific kinds of environments that only really happen now.
Take the dorms for example. You take a bunch of teenagers away from their homes for the first time, move them in with a bunch of people they don’t know and leave them to their own devices. That’s never going to happen again in your lives.
People are going to start pairing up, which is a given, but a lot of these fledgling relationships end up lasting a lot longer than they would have if the partners weren’t basically seeing each other every single moment of every single day. Being in such close vicinity helps make infatuation feel like love when it’s really just infatuation.
The rest of college is just a less extreme version of dorm life. Though people might not be living together anymore, they’re still living next to each other and they still see each other every day.
How are we supposed to deal with this? A lot of the problems involve people thinking they’re head over heels in love with someone. That cute girl in your dorm that you spent the last few weeks courting is probably just a cute girl that you put some time into getting to know, it doesn’t make you or her special.
I’ve experienced both the single life and the committed long-term relationship life recently and, to be honest, both have their perks. But there are a few things I miss from being in a long-term relationship: constant regular companionship, someone to take out to fun couple-y things regularly, having someone to cuddle up with and talk to every night. But, I don’t really mind being single right now. Being able to flirt unabashedly is a nice change of pace and just having some space is generally a plus. I also get more sleep. Try not to get so hung up on one or two people; it’s okay to date around.
If anything, the most secure relationships come from partners who have dated a good amount of other people and know what kind of person they’re looking for. Right now, it makes more sense to date a few people, get to know your own tastes and personality before trying to find something more serious.
Remember, everyone is still constantly changing. It makes more sense to date than to spend three years in a relationship with someone who is going to be completely different by the time you break up anyway. You can worry about being in an open/exclusive/mutual/“Facebook Official” relationship later.
With so many eligible people around, it’s a little hard to keep your mind straight when thinking about relationships. Just don’t get caught up in falling in love and keep the big picture in mind.
College is a big time for everyone where people leave entirely different from who they entered as. It’s best to take the time to figure out who you are and what you really like before trying to find someone to spend the rest of your life with. We’re in college after all; it’s never going to be as easy to meet people as it is now.