Whether you ask your best friend, your mom or your grandmother this question, you inevitably receive a highly opinionated response. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you don’t even have to ask—they willfully force their opinion onto you, whether you like it or not. And the best part?
Their advice echoes in your head throughout your entire freshman year.
Allow me to play out a scenario from my freshman year: Oh, look, cute guy at 12 o’clock! But wait—a playboy, or boyfriend material? Do you run the risk of getting too attached? Or, do you spend the night with him, and become just another number on his hit list by morning? Sigh.
For some people, it’s a big deal making this intentional decision to date (or to not date) in college. It’s especially the case for young women, I would argue, who seem to inevitably fight a double-edged sword with whatever they end up choosing.
If they chose a relationship, their friends and peers often question them. They get unsolicited responses such as:
“Why are you settling down now? Now, more than ever, is the time to be single!”
“Date around—the world is your oyster.”
“You’ll regret it later.”
On the other hand, if you don’t find an eligible bachelor willing to get cuffed, you run the possibility of having a label as, well, a slut. You take your friends’ advice to play the field, but all you get in return is women shaming women (and sometimes men shaming women) for choosing to remain a bachelorette.
What’s a girl to do?
To be completely frank, the correct answer’s beyond me. From my experience, my best attempt says to do whatever feels right for you. Don’t overanalyze what others might think.
Before I came to college, I’d never been in a serious relationship before; this was mainly due to my focus on academics and extracurricular activities.
I struggled to find a high school boy mature enough to even want a serious relationship. I think because of my relationship history, I craved a companion by the time I came to college. I felt sick of the single scene. I wanted to know what it was like to date someone long-term.
About halfway through my freshman year, I found the person for me. We’ve dated for nearly two years, happily together.
Staying single has a lot of pros. You get the chance to meet a variety of different people and learn from them. You don’t need to worry about dating long distance, over-analyze the little things that go on between you and your significant other or worry about dependency. When you go out to the bars or go downtown, you get to mingle and socialize with your other single friends.
Once you start dating someone, going out with your girlfriends just doesn’t feel the same.
However, a relationship in college also comes with a lot of benefits. You have someone to share your college experience with, whether it’s your highs and lows or periods of growth over the course of your college career. You get to grow together and figure out who you want to be and where you want to go after graduation. Unlike what others might say, if you do it correctly, you don’t lose yourself in a relationship. From my experience, I’ve only learned more about myself.
You also get a home away from home. Finding companionship from someone who cares as deeply for you as a family member can mean so much when you’re away at school, especially if you attend somewhere out of state. It’s a comforting (and underrated) feeling.
One of my favorite perks is much less pressure to dress to impress. Instead of spending over an hour getting ready to go out and “look your best self,” you can roll up to your boyfriend’s house in a sweatshirt and shorts and not feel judged for it.
At the end of the day, the decision’s up to you. Although taking other’s opinions into consideration can oftentimes be helpful, when it comes to relationships, only you will know what will truly make you the happiest. Prioritize yourself and stay true to yourself—the rest all falls into place.