“I can’t believe they’re dating their freshman year of college,” my friend said as her eyebrows skeptically arched and nose crinkled with repulsion. “They’ve literally only known each other for three months.” I cringed.
Senior year of high school I thought I had it all figured out (typical teenage naiveté). I prided myself on my carefree approach regarding relationships, preferring no strings attached hookups with the “what ever happens, happens” mindset. It was a foolproof plan on how not to get hurt.
My friends and I agreed that our freshman year of college wouldn’t become consumed by a relationship or a gooey love story straight out of The Notebook. We finally had the chance to break out of the monotonous cycle of our basic suburbia lives and party like Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers. So we planned on devoting ourselves to a year of exploration, drunken hookups and best of all, a year of absolutely no commitment.
I had every intention of sticking with my flawless plan. That was, however, until everything went to shit. Thanks Cole.
Freshman year brings forward new experiences everyday: whether it’s trying to determine just how old that cookie is in your room or finding the perfect ratio of detergent to clothes so the washing machine doesn’t overflow. I didn’t know how nice it was to have someone special to share these new things with.
Cole and I lived on the same floor in the same dorm, and even found ourselves in the same friend group from the first day of orientation. We were friends first, and then more. But I constantly questioned myself. Wasn’t I supposed to be out partying? Trying new things? (Or new people)?
Our friends made it clear they thought we were jumping into things and reassured us that there were plenty of other fish in the sea.
But what if I already found my fish? They wouldn’t hear any of it.
Once Cole and I realized that we both thought the coup against freshman year relationships was complete BS (did we really have to keep telling people that we were just “exclusively hooking up”?) I allowed myself to become the happiest I’d ever been with a person who has grown to mean more to me than I ever thought possible.
My entire life I made it my mission not to get overly attached in a relationship. Starting college, my freshman year seemed like the perfect time to continue this unhealthy pattern. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, pop culture and the rule I used to live by, causally dating or committing to a long term relationship your freshman year doesn’t inhibit your opportunities. You can still put yourself out there and try new things with (or without) bae.
My social life never revolved only around Cole. While we still love to spend time together, he managed to push me further outside of my comfort zone than I could have ever done by myself. From encouraging me to check out Greek life to supporting my sudden interest in the club lacrosse team, Cole supported me through everything.
Instead of missing out on fun because I’m in a relationship, I’ve had a constant party pal or study buddy. When I got hungry at a frat party and Cole helped me steal some carrots from their refrigerator, I knew I had it made.
Still, it seems as though the stereotype of freshman year relationships affect students. When you stop thinking in terms of how people will approve, your world will change.
I knew what I wanted all along and I denied myself because of what people would think. The moment I started acting for myself was the moment Cole and I became closer than ever.
In the end, it’s a personal decision deciding between hooking up, dating or finding the sugar daddy that’s right for you. When I took a step back and assessed what, and who, I really wanted (separated from what people expected from me), I found what truly mattered.
Your freshman year is a time to grow, explore and discover parts of yourself you never knew were there. Why not share that with someone you care about?