Spending time with your crush sounds like a dream come true, right? That’s what I thought too. My high school crush— let’s call him Jake— and I both ended up at Syracuse University. I knew of Jake since freshman year of high school as the popular, attractive guy who was into music and DJ’ed all our football games. Practically everyone loved him. He became not only my high school crush, but the majority of our grade’s as well.
Our first real conversation happened near the end of senior year, during college decision time. We both had to move our cars from the school parking lot, so we ended up walking there and back together. During our conversation, we realized we might end up at the same college. This possibility excited me, but mostly I just felt ecstatic that he learned my name.
From there we said “hi” in the hallways and followed each other on all social media… the true sign of friendship. When I committed to Syracuse, Jake messaged me saying, “Congrats! See you there.” I couldn’t stop smiling. I had another four years with the guy I’d been in love with since the beginning of high school.
I arrived on campus only knowing five people, so hearing “Hey Amelia!” within the first hour of college made for quite the surprise. Jake called my name. He and I lived in the same dorm; it almost seemed like a movie. But after that first day, we only really saw each other in passing, until one Thursday night.
I stood in the lobby of our building, meeting some friends, when I saw Jake and asked about his plans that night. He didn’t have any, so I asked him to come with us. My high school self would have been shocked by how bold and impulsive I’d just acted. But so what if we hadn’t been friends in high school, or that he had been one of the most popular guys of the hundreds in our grade? It was college. All that high school popularity stuff didn’t matter anymore, right?
We talked the entire night. When we got back to our dorm, he asked if I wanted to hang out, so I went to his room and we talked some more, which led to hooking up, which led to more talking. High school memories, our interests and his favorite music—conversation flowed easily. I tried to stay calm but internally, I freaked out. A few months before, I never would have dreamt of hooking up with Jake, and now here I found myself, in his room.
Two days later, I ended up back in his room repeating what had happened a few nights earlier. Later that night, he asked if I wanted to help write for his music blog. The project sounded exciting, partially because I enjoyed his music, and partially because I liked spending time with him.
But after that night, he practically disappeared off the face of the Earth. Days later, I finally received a text from him. It bluntly stated that if I still wanted to help writing for his blog then we would have to stop hooking up. He then immediately followed saying I was “very cool” and that we should hang once in a while, which sounded so vague I wondered if he really meant his first message at all.
Reading the two messages over and over again, I felt trapped. If I said no to writing for his blog, I sounded like I only wanted to hook up. If I said yes, that would mark the end of my high school fantasy. But he’d said he still wanted to “hang.” Did he actually want to spend time together? Or just hook up when it was convenient?
I started to realize that maybe he didn’t have much interest in spending time with me… he just wanted a late night hook up. His mixed messages made me realize my “high school crush” ideal of him had blinded me, and I had failed to realize earlier that he just wasn’t that into me as a person.
When I had thought about my first months of college over the summer, I never dreamt of hooking up with Jake. If I knew what lay ahead, I would have jumped up and down with excitement. But nothing is perfect. Sometimes Troy Bolton turns out to be the type of person to sends mixed messages and only wants a convenient hook up. In reality, my high school crush just didn’t live up to the guy I thought he was. It goes to show you don’t know people’s true self if you only know of their hype or popularity. At the end of the day, when you want to create valuable, lasting relationships, real life matters more than ideas.