Dating in college: It’s weird

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By: Arli Swaney

Welcome to college!  A place where life hits you in the face daily and reality slowly but surely sets in.  You’re expected to get good grades, make new friends and participate in many clubs.  However, it seems that the only thing your family at Thanksgiving dinner cares about is your relationship status.

Yes, the dreaded, “So… do you have boyfriend yet?” question.  You sit there, eating your mashed potatoes, wondering the same thing. You get tons of people’s numbers.  It’s just that going through college and maintaining a healthy relationship can be difficult.  A relationship is like an extra course that doesn’t even help you get a job.

So you take your family’s question, and you go back to school.  You distract yourself by indulging in large amounts of alcohol on the weekend, hoping that Mr. Right will show up in that dirty, frat house basement.

College dating is weird—it’s a step above high school dating, because you don’t have to ask permission to go out for dinner, and you can spend the night wherever and do whatever you want.  Things can escalate faster than what you wanted, or guys can ghost you faster than you can say, “So, what are we?”

A relationship in college is hard—you have a life that you are trying to figure out, and so does he or she.  Your schedules conflict, your motives may be different, and your goals and dreams might not include that person at the moment.  It’s hard to turn to that guy you’ve been dating for months and say, “Hey, I know you had this dream of moving to New York after you graduate, but I had this dream of moving to Chicago.  Feel like switching your dream you worked your whole life for to stay with me?”

People are either looking for nothing serious at all, or they are looking for marriage.  It seems like you can’t find that happy medium in college.  If you’re anything like me, you want someone to watch movies with, laugh with and talk about life with.  I don’t want to get married, and I don’t want to be just a booty call.  I want something in the middle—it’s called balance.

I’m trying to balance a full academic workload, leadership positions in clubs and a busy social life—I can’t commit like I used to.  Because high school was easy, and because I always had free time, I was always fully committed (maybe too much, now that I look back) and ready to be the best girlfriend I could be.  Now, I have a lot going on, and when I find a guy who understands this, then I know I have found someone special.  

In order for us to stay sane with college dating, we have to stay focused.  You need to remember who you are because it can be easy to lose yourself.  I barely know who I am now, and a guy whom I like can drastically change my mind about decisions that I make.  We are so fragile here at college—stress, anxiety and worries get in the way.  When you find someone who allows you to have fun and feel happy, you want to hold onto that.  You feel like you’re in an adult relationship without adult responsibilities.

But we have to remember why we are in college.

I’m not here to say, “Yes grandma, I finally have a boyfriend!  Aren’t you proud?”  No.  I’m here to say, “Hey, I’m the president of my sorority, I’m an editor and I got a 4.0 last semester.  Are you proud?”

You work your a** off to get good grades and for a future you can depend on.  You work hard for yourself and your dreams—find someone who understands this.  You each have goals for the future, and if you find someone you see in your future, keep him or her.

Again, college dating is weird.  But it’s something we all typically go through, and maybe that person who understands you during this odd and chaotic time could be the one.

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