An enormous dating pool, the absence of midnight curfew coupled with some life experience (read: high school romance) under your belt – you may arrive at the conclusion that college is finally the time for you to cast your amour net wide.
But let’s come back to earth for a bit.
College is taxing enough as it is – you have tests, an infinite amount of knowledge to be gobbled up, a minuscule budget (hello cup noodles) and of course, the occasional (fine… frequent) existential crisis. To tangle up matters like a cat in a skein of yarn, college dating seems to be a peculiar limbo between high school puppy love and real adult romantic relationships.
Whether you’re the guy hunting for a gamer girlfriend or the girl planning to graduate with a Mrs. Degree, it remains a looming question: should you open up to a relationship in college, or brace through college #foreveralone?
We’re no experts in dishing out relationship advice, but before you plunge into the game of romance, here are two sides of the love coin (even though we’re sure you already have all the pros racked up at the back of your head).
#1. YAY: Classmates to soulmates
sappy depiction of Hollywood’s chick flicks, the odds of you stumbling upon your future spouse at college is not just a prevalent fantasy, it IS a legit phenomenon (read: yes, it is possible). Thanks to the geniuses at Facebook and their magical data, findings revealed that 15% of people in the US were actually married to a high school sweetheart and about 28% of married college-graduates attended the same college.
Psst… the information gathered also revealed that larger campuses may be better at facilitating a match made in heaven, since there are more matches for cupid to lay his hands on. In other words, you know where to initiate your quest (#thankuslater).
#2. YAY: Constant companion
Love it or hate it – we Homo sapiens are social creatures who (almost always) thirst for companionship. Loneliness, particularly, is inevitable in the first year. A foreign environment far from the comforts of home where friendships are fresh can be a daunting experience and discourage even the bravest of souls.
Tracking down Finding a significant other with similar interests can lend an arm around you through the roughest of time when nobody else is there. Between all the mamak trips, picturesque cafes, movie nights to concerts, it’s always nice to have a kindred soul to share these moments with.
And the comfort of knowing that there’s an unwavering soul rooting for you? Yeah, that sense of security/stress-buffer resource is great to have, especially as the semester drags on and becomes more nerve wrecking.
#3. YAY: Upping your grade game
If you’re one of the lucky bunch, and your partner dons a smarty-pants-glasses, you may have just scored yourself a complimentary tutor / 24/7 study mate. Cooped up at home to cram scrolls of notes and textbooks, we know it’s tough to dodge the natural force that thrusts you towards the prospect of being soaked in procrastination.
But fret not, the notion of couples hitting the books together not only unleashes a tinge of romance in the air but more importantly, it pumps up your level of motivation. Other perks include a hike in memory retention and expanded access to information, shying you away from distractions.
#4. NAY: The strenuous game of (modern) love
We all know the scenario. As we frantically dart our eyes around the room, we spot our crush pacing towards us in the lecture hall. Keeping our cool, we try not to look excited and maybe even turn away. Why?
Because when it comes to dating these days, it always feels like the person who cares less ends up winning.
Yes, that unspoken rule on the immediacy of texts. “It can’t be 10 minutes on the dot, because then it’s obvious you were waiting. It should be longer than 15 minutes to show you’re not desperate but within the 45-minute window.” Sounds familiar? Even though we’re all addicted to texting, there’s still a huge source of anxiety when it comes to dating and digital texting.
The murky state of communication we’ve grown to accept – coupled with the whoever-cares-less-wins dynamic – is precisely the dilemma of youngsters these days, making it a downfall of college dating/relationship today.
#5. NAY: Sacrifices, sacrifices and sacrifices
Do you have friends who always feel obligated to spend all their free time with their boo? Yes, we’re referring to that friend of yours who falls off the radar, nowhere to be found as long as there’s a romantic partner in the equation – and that could potentially be you.
Dating someone within the vicinity of your campus is no doubt convenient, but it can also easily evolve into some sort of unhealthy attachment or unconscious clinginess.
Aside from the prospect of missing out college parties, TGIF entertainment and shopping therapies with the girls or football matches with the boys, you now also have to worry about the well-being/future of another young adult. Of course, that sits right on top of your existing pile of what-should-i-do-with-my-life existential worries.
While college is a time where you should pick up all the ins and outs of what makes you who you are, sometimes (not always), but sometimes… being in a relationship can make it easy to put your own aspirations on the back burner since you’re also focusing on the happiness of another soul.
#6. NAY: Post-graduation worries
You may have meticulously established the best relationship during your undergraduate years, but the instant you wrap up your degree, the real deal rolls in. With your sweetheart in mind, you’ll also have to take into account his/her hopes and dreams as much as your own.
Are you going to stick through it together or split up? If you guys are keen on staying together, are you moving to the same city? What if you have to leave your partner behind while you further your studies abroad? And then there’s also the dreadful prospect of long distance relationship.
These are all huge questions, each boiling down to decisions that will determine the course of your immediate future.
Again, we’re no relationship connoisseur, but by laying out the two sides of the coin, fingers crossed that you’ll be able to make your own sound decision when the cupid’s arrow (finally) strikes you.
Regardless of your cup of tea, there’ll always be highs and lows in college – especially during a relationship – but what you learn by dealing with these hurdles is also what you’ll take with you after graduation. Before we draw the curtain, we know you’ll pass these college dating tests! Just watch out for the trick questions, okay?