Heading off to college is both exciting and terrifying in equal measure. On the one hand, you’re heading off on your own for the first time, meeting new people, experiencing new things, being independent, and starting your adult life. On the other hand, you’re without your parents for the first time, you’re completely out there on your own, and meeting new people can be scary!
All off these concerns melt into the background once the first few days of a college experience are out of the way, and then the attention turns to something else entirely – dating in college.
When you first arrive at college, you’re overwhelmed with everyhing, but then you start to notice all the new guys and girls around you. New opportunities for friendships, and possibly even more.
Most people have a dating experience in college, either with one person or a few. This is a rite of passage in so many ways, and whilst many relationships don’t last after college has finished and the real world begins, a few do manage to stand the test of time.
Despite that, dating in college is full of upsides and downsides. It can be tough, it can be cut-throat, and it can be full of competition. You thought you’d left all of that behind when you left school? No way! It’s about to crank itself up a notch!
Whether you’re about to head off to college, you’re currently at college and wondering where to start, or your son or daughter is heading off and you want to keep abreast of what might be coming your way, here are a few perils and perks of dating in college that you need to be aware of.
Dating in college is a great way to build up a support network. When you’re away from home, you need these relationships in your life, and when everything is going well, you’ll feel like you have found your own tribe. Of course, this doesn’t only include your new beau, as it will include the friends you have made yourself, as well as his or her friends too.
Dating in college tends to bring everyone together, but the trouble begins when arguments or breakups occur.
For this reason, make sure you have more than one person in your support network. It’s far too easy to become completely head over heels with a guy or girl, and then when things go sour, which they sometimes do, you’re left alone. Everyone else has formed cliques and groups, just like in school, and as a result, you’re left feeling lonely.
Expand your social network and keep it wide – if you can do that, you’re sure to love every second of your college experience, love and everything else that comes your way.
Dating does not mean hook-ups. When we talk about ‘dating’, we’re talking about forming a bond with a person, getting to know them, their likes and dislikes and even having a relationship with them, not having one-night stands or being friends with benefits. Okay, most people have a hook up or two in college and that’s completely normal, but if you make a habit of it, a) you’ll end up lonely, b) you might put yourself in difficult positions health-wise, if you’re not careful, and c) you might get a reputation you don’t deserve. Have fun by all means, but surely, it’s more fun to date and actually form a bond with someone?
The great thing about going to college is that you get to meet people from all over the country, not just from your local area. First impressions can be strong, but don’t write someone off because they perhaps didn’t make the greatest first impression on you – remember that people going to college for the first time are nervous, just like you, and this can cause them to act in a way which isn’t really who they are. You might meet the new love of your life and cast them aside because they were a little too shy the first time you met, or you didn’t click right away. Give people a chance! Dating in college is usually about the things you never expected, after all.
The single biggest peril of dating in college – falling in love and giving it all up for a guy or a girl. Everything feels so strong at this time in your life, so it’s easy to think ‘it’s here, I’ve met the one!’, when in actual fact you need to slow down just a little.
So many college studies meet someone, start dating and then they give up their entire network of new friends, their social lives and their studies begin to fall by the wayside too. Keep your life ticking along, dating in college is meant to enhance your experience and your life, not make it less or smaller. Remember, this new relationship of yours isn’t guaranteed to last, and if it does go wrong, do you want to be alone, having thrown away an important experience? Of course not.
With all this new-found independence, it’s so easy to think that it’s going to last forever, purely because everything feels so intense. Many relationships which are strong during college, don’t make it afterwards. Sorry, but this is something you need to know. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you for sure, but it’s something you need to think about. Don’t cut your dreams and future career aspirations down because you’ve met someone, if they’re meant to stay in your life they will somehow find a way to be there, and they won’t force you to be less than you’re supposed to be. The same thing applies to their aspirations, let them fly and see where you both end up.
The final point we need to make about dating in college is that it can be a cut-throat business. People get jealous, other girls or guys might not like your new union, and as a result, you find all manner of high school trickery going on. You thought that was all done? No way! College is an extension, but with more intent.
Dating in college is an experience that everyone should have. Provided you can keep your head, keep your focus on your studies, and build your support network, you’ll look back on it with very fond memories indeed.