We’ve heard it before. Young women are trading the traditional dating scene for the hookup culture, allowing them to focus on their careers (Pour one out for the MRS degree). Ladies, the sky is the limit! But here’s another fact…a young woman can be driven, career-oriented, and happily in a relationship while in college!
As someone who has been in a relationship for almost two years/two-thirds of my undergraduate life, I thought I’d weigh in on something less talked about: dating in college. What inspired me for the post was watching”6 Years” on Netflix, an independent film centered on the development of a long-term young adult relationship. While I certainly cannot relate to the film’s melodramatic elements, it posed interesting questions about what it means to be young and committed.
Everyone is in a different placing coming into and going through college. I know people who’ve continued to date their high school girlfriend/boyfriend. I know people who are only interested in hooking up, others who enjoy casually dating, some who have no interest, and people who enjoy having a boyfriend. Despite the attention to the hook up culture pervading the current college scene, I think it always has been a time for exploration of new found freedom, regardless of generation. The difference now is that as women continue to aim higher through education (hooray!), it arguably changes dating dynamics. As someone who is pursuing a degree economics, working 20+ hours a week, and has every intention to be a strong woman with a career, I can promise you that goal isn’t synonymous to forgoing a relationship.
Don’t you feel like you’re missing out? Isn’t college a time to focus on meeting people? Is it possible to balance it all?
The first question is a major misconception-if you are in a happy relationship, you aren’t asking yourself what you are missing out on or feel as if you are. If the grass is greener on the other side, it might be time to reevaluate. I have had plenty of classic college fun with my boyfriend, from a night time booze cruise to countless Asian noodle dates to a fun skip trip and beach weekend. So no, I don’t feel like I’m missing out. And for perspective, I’ve seen the other side of the coin too, having experienced being both single and (casually) dating in the past.
The truth is if you are in the right relationship it never feel like a setback! What I’ve gained is a best friend who I also happen to find attractive and love in a more-than-best-friend way. I’m having adventures and new experiences with one person, but it’s a person I want to share things with. While college is time to meet people, I’ve met amazing friends these past few years but being single or not doesn’t ultimately affect my ability to meet people. My relationship status may steer away a thirsty guy in a basement house party but I certainly don’t believe it hinders my social skills. A healthy relationship is balanced and of course it takes a little adjustment to new-found dating status, but eventually people find their rhythm as a couple and what works in terms of spending time, commitment, and so forth. We learn about balancing work, school, and friends, so adding dating to the mix is only a positive learning experience.
I loved sharing my perspective on this topic so here’s a final thought: let’s not shame college girls who are single, girls who engage in hookup culture, or girls who are in relationships. Dating in college is different for everyone but if you are happy and enjoying your experience that is what matters most!