Disclaimer: I did undergrad in 3.5 years. Two majors (poli sci and philosophy). Extra-curricular involvement: executive board of the Student Government Association, student newspaper, tutoring, and a social fraternity (Alpha Kappa Lambda). So if you’re having trouble agreeing with this post, go ahead and chalk it up to my absurdly busy schedule in college or the fact I’m not a terribly sentimental person. Trust me, I probably won’t take it personally.
Why You Should Not (seriously) Date In College…
by a (very) recent college graduate
A host of reasons support the previous statement. College is a tumultuous time in people’s lives, whether you step onto your chosen campus as a fresh-faced 18 year old or as a non-traditional student. It is a time of transitions, stress, sleep deprivation, more stress, deadlines, and a great deal of uncertainty. Into the maelstrom let us introduce this most terrible of things: dating. Combine the already stressful environment of college with dating/relationships/FWBs/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it and the result often tends to be late-night rant sessions, screaming matches in the dorm hallway, or drunken fights. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against any sort of romantic relationship in college, I’m just questioning whether or not college students should seriously date in college.
Let me define this word “seriously” in this particular context.
Serious dating means dating with an eye towards a future together (i.e. marriage).
Serious dating means dating as if you’re both 45 year olds without spouses who want someone long-term.
Serious dating means long-term commitment, the potential for getting engaged, and all the other riff-raff that tags along when two people begin to consider what a life together will entail.
I’m arguing here, right now, no one should seriously date in college. No one. Non-trads are a different breed as many of them are already engaged or married so let’s leave them out of this sample population.
Don’t seriously date in college. There’s time enough for that later. Casually date. Find a FWB or don’t. Whatever floats your particular boat. Don’t bring up marriage. Don’t (for the love of God) bring up children. You have more important things to worry about: namely graduating on time, student loans, finding a job, finding a place to live after graduation, graduate school, et cetera. You don’t need the added stress of seriously dating. I’m not even convinced my peers or I are even in any appropriate mental or emotional state to seriously date.
If you per chance happen upon someone and instant, fantastic chemistry crops up between you two, then by all means pursue that person. See if it lasts. See if it survives graduation and potential career opportunities out in Indiana or Phoenix, Arizona. Don’t give up your career goals, life goals, bucket list goals, any goals for someone you may not even like two years down the road.
My generation, the Millennial Generation that is, grew up in a world teetering on the edge of a massive technological revolution. This revolution has since come and gone. We grew up in the shadow of dial-up internet, those days when mom yelled up the stairs for you to get off the computer so she could call her sister in Alabama. We grew up in the shadow of the original Xbox, the PS2, the N64, and in a decade and a half technology has rocketed far beyond what we once knew. And the Millennial Generation has responded to the fast-paced technological revolution. We’re stressed out caffeine addicts. Our parents might argue we’re phone junkies. We’ve adapted to the fast-paced world by becoming fast-paced ourselves and this is self-evident in the way we treat relationships.
Tinder. Need I say more? Technology changed the way we do relationships and that’s not necessarily bad, it’s just different. What is actually bad is when we turn our relationships up to high speed and pump the nitro in, propelling us inexorably toward some goal, usually marriage.
To my fellow college graduates and to those of you still embroiled in the muck of undergrad, let me say this: there is no rush. The divorce rate in America is atrocious. Many of the kids we went to high school and college with came from broken homes. Rushing into marriages and childbirth doesn’t just affect you, it will affect your future kids. There is no rush. Take your time, get a financial cushion, find the career you want, get established. There is no f*cking rush, people.
I know life is faster than it ever has been before but don’t let that seep into your relationships. Nothing good can come from it. In this particular facet of your life, time is not of the essence.
So don’t (seriously) date in college. Casually date. Find out who you’re compatible with and who you’re not. Find out if you prefer blondes, brunettes, or just don’t really care. Do well in school, grab real world experiences when you can, take a gap year, or study abroad. Live a fast-paced life (I know I tend to) but restrain yourself from living a fast-paced romantic life. Don’t seriously date in college. Do anything but. Hey, I’m a strong social liberal, I really don’t care how you live your life…except you need to be smart about things. And rushing into marriage, rushing into an engagement, rushing into having kids, that’s not smart.
The Millennial Generation is often called the most narcissistic, selfish generation yet. I think that’s only partially true. I suspect some of you may read this post and slap the label of narcissism onto it. By doing that, I argue those readers are perverting my main argument, which is this: casually dating in college isn’t just about figuring out your future before you create futures for others (i.e. having kids), it’s also about giving your future children a better life. Even if that means waiting ten years instead of two, even if it means living with someone for three years instead of three months, it’ll positively benefit you, your future spouse, and your future children (if you have any of the little devils).
Go ahead, tell me I’m narcissistic, or not sentimental enough, or too career focused. That’s fine. Yet the Millennial Generation, my generation, came into our own at a unique, transitory period in modern history. Our choices and actions will set the stage for years, perhaps even decades, to come. Let’s not rush into building this stage, let’s stop and think about what we want the future to look like. I’m not saying don’t fall in love, don’t be romantic, or that you’re better off puttering around college as cynical, shuttered, heartless bastards. No, I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying don’t let our fast-paced existence rush you into things you may not quite be ready for. And that’s not meant to be patronizing, that’s meant to be real. I’ll freely admit right now I’m in no position to seriously date. If you feel you are, perhaps you’re right, but just for my sake, take a second and rethink your situation…and then act based on what you come up with.
I’m not the world’s greatest expert on relationships. I make absolutely no claims to that title. This is merely my perspective on the issue, based upon personal experiences and observations. Ignore this entire post or parts of it as you choose. All I ask is that you, at least for a moment, consider the points I’ve made herein.
Hell of a topic to launch into after a year’s hiatus from blogging isn’t it?