You can watch my YouTube video on this topic here.
Dating in college is a controversial topic that comes up again and again. The dating culture has changed due to social media and other ideas the millennial generation has adopted. With that being said, is dating in college a real thing? Is it worth it?
My freshman year, I entered college with the idea that I didn’t want to date. I wanted to be independent, focus on myself and not get caught up in any guy drama whatsoever. From reading posts on social media and talking to other people, everyone made it seem like dating a guy in college was stupid for a number of reasons: They are immature, only want one thing, and that if you have a boyfriend in college, you’ll spend more time with your S.O than your friends. Naturally, that left me thinking that I would go with the flow, not push for a relationship and simply focus on building friendships and myself.
However, of course, things never quite work out how you would like them to. Early on I got caught up in the idea of “dating” and tried hard to push for certain relationships to happen. Like most girls, I would get upset when they didn’t turn into something I wanted them to be. I started to think everything said about dating in college was true, that it was not worth it and that all guys were simply stupid. Luckily, I snapped out of that weird stage and told myself to take a step back, just have fun, and focus on school.
Second semester rolled around and I wasn’t trying so hard, I wasn’t concerned about guys at all, made some great friends and started to feel incredibly confident for the first time in my life. I became secure with who I am and felt happy. I finally felt like I had a place (that sounds so corny, but it’s true). I knew what I wanted and where I wanted to be in life– one of the most liberating feelings ever.
In the middle of my second semester I started to become interested in a guy who is now my boyfriend. Although I had previously told myself to NOT get involved or get consumed by the idea of a relationship. However, things with him happened naturally and easy. We were always on the same page. My advice to anyone in college looking to be in a relationship is simply this: Don’t look. Don’t put too much of your energy into someone else if it causes you to question, doubt or analyze yourself. If it is meant to be, then it will be. I know that sounds so much easier said than done, but I can’t stress how true that statement is. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck putting more energy into someone else when you should be putting all of your energy into building yourself! College is the time when you should be working your butt off, start seriously thinking about your career, and be excited about what the future holds while living in the moment.
Dating in college should be fun, easy and stress-free. College is stressful enough as it is, being in a relationship should be meaningful and positive. It should also be a learning experience. Communication is key to any relationship which is why I think there is so much controversy around the idea of dating in college. Social media dictates such a large part of our lives, sometimes it skews our perception of how a relationship should be, or set unrealistic expectations. With that being said, if dating seems to be doing anything BUT build confidence– ditch the idea, seriously. You have so much time to find someone, and they will almost always come around when you are least expecting it.
I’d like to touch a bit on the idea of romance. Specifically, the idea of romance in college. Some people argue that romance is dead and that the millennial generation has completely forgotten how to be romantic. We aren’t interested in having committed relationships and instead resort to hooking up and “fear commitment.” I think this generalization is wrong.
The idea of romance is subject to the romancer. With that being said, we, the “millennials,” so rightly adopted the notion to love ourselves. We thrive off of our characteristic on being social and collaborative through self-promotion. So yes, basically we are obsessed with ourselves, but in a pretty cool and awesome way (in my opinion). Therefore, we just don’t feel the need to rush into falling in love with another person by carefully coating a growing relationship with traditional romantic tactics. Instead, we channel all of that unnecessary energy into focusing on ourselves and growing our thoughts and ideas into bigger things than a superfluous courtship. Being self-sufficient and totally independent is extremely admirable among millennials. Compared to the 1960s, our “American Dream” transcended into more than owning a house in the suburbs and having a cookie-cutter family. Our idea of success has broadened into so much more than factoring in a relationship into defining our happiness.
We understand that there is no rush to find ourselves in a romantic relationship. Perhaps these accusations don’t consider that maybe we are just caught in a romance with ourselves, or that our lack of commitment to a romantic relationship with someone else has been put on hold for selfish but rightful purposes. We know the “the one” is out there somewhere so we choose to not waste time looking. In the meantime, learn to love who we are (maybe experience a bit of the hookup culture), then eventually unite with our other half at a later time.
Each person has different values and needs. And sure, in college maintaining a “classic” romantic relationship can pose challenges. Our funds are limited and our schedules are tight. I do not expect my boyfriend to present me with flowers or take me out to dinner every weekend. I think that goes for most modern day collegiate women. We opt to not base our relationship on these romantic gestures or dates (that often clash with feminist values). Instead, we listen, motivate, and support each other on all levels, from getting through a day of classes to achieving a long-term goal. That is my idea of a romance. I think these values go for a lot of college students who realize that the idea of romance is no longer limited to a series of creative dates or well thought out gestures.
The modern day idea of dating or romance is that we have someone at the end of the day to talk to, vent to and listen to. This does not mean that we no longer have deep thought-provoking conversations or do not care to learn more about the other person. Our romancing is simply done in a different, new way.