By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.
I didn’t realize I had so much experience dating until recently, when I was talking to my grandmother about the boys in my life. She married when she was 21 and had kids right after so she was never really able to “date around,” as is the norm today. She helped me realize an important life lesson in the aftermath of a series of unfortunate flings with boys: I don’t have to be in a relationship just because everyone else is.
Whoever said school is a place for learning wasn’t entirely wrong, but they neglected to mention that when you have some eye candy in that chemistry class, you’re much more motivated to show up every day. Should college be your go-to locale for flirting or could it really be the place to find your love?
David Coleman says college is just a “four-year experiment.” Coleman is a real life Hitch (think Will Smith movie) and has made it his career to travel to hundreds of universities giving dating advice to students. He says college is “too artificial a situation to have a relationship.” Could he be right?
“You’re going to throw a bunch of 18- to 22-year-olds into a place where they can hang 24-7, 365, with no parents around, have all that freedom, all that alcohol, and access to each others’ heart, mind, body and soul … when really they’re going to graduate, they have no idea what they’re going to do, or even where they’re going to move or go to school,” Coleman says.
Coleman makes a good point. It’s no wonder there are so many negative dating experiences in college. The bottom line is there is so much pressure from society to have a relationship that when it’s over, it feels like the end of the world. A lot of my friends (and I know I’ve done this too) have put so much of themselves into a relationship thinking that their boyfriend or girlfriend is “the one,” only to have it not work out. They’re left alone and feeling hopeless. With this kind of pattern, college students are especially vulnerable to setting themselves up for disappointment.
It’s hard for me to remember that there’s nothing wrong with me if I’m not in a relationship or constantly looking for one. It is incredibly fun flirting and having the possibility of a relationship present itself, but it’s also refreshing not having the distraction.
If you’re in the midst of pursuing a relationship, try not to take it too seriously at first. Ease into it and embrace the simplicity of not rushing. The best “dates” I’ve been on with a guy were ones where we did a lot of talking. Who says that you have to do dinner and a movie the first time you two hang out? Try going for a walk in the park at midnight; you’ll have the swings all to yourselves. Go for a drink and play some pool. Let him teach you how to sink your ball into that corner pocket (even if you already know how).
Remember that it’s not the end of the world if you’re not in a relationship when it seems like all of your friends are. There’s no rule that says you must find a boyfriend or girlfriend as soon as you begin college so do your own thing on your own terms.