“Dear Brooke, what’s your advice for dating on campus?”

A part of me just wants to respond to this question with a quick and easy “don’t.” But, that wouldn’t be right because college is the perfect time to explore different experiences and all types of relationships, including romantic ones! When it comes to my own personal dating life, I might not be the most qualified person to give out advice. However, from relationships that I’ve witnessed with my own friends and peers, I’ve picked up on many dating what-to-do’s and what-not-to-do’s with my outsider perspective. I suggest you keep these tips in the back of your mind because it’s so easy to walk into situations like these with rose-colored glasses (as many people do). 

Abandon the dating apps – I actually know a lot of adults that have met their significant other through matchmaking sites, but for most people our age, swiping through Tinder and Hinge is just their way of looking for a quick attention fix. It happens too often that people who connect are met with different expectations of what they want from each other, and one person always leaves feeling taken advantage of or hurt. If you’re really interested in building a genuine, long term connection, I would suggest putting yourself out there more in real, face-to-face scenarios rather than behind an edited screen. Attend those club meetings that interest you because you might end up meeting someone who has the same passions! Leave your dorm room on the weekends and introduce yourself to your friend’s friend, because if someone you like is fond of someone else, chances are, you will like them too. Be bold and ask your classmate to grab a meal on or off campus. Find whatever works for you, just as long as you stay away from your phone … at least for now. 

Don’t have expectations of marriage – When I was in high school, I saw this post on social media that said if you “weren’t dating for marriage, then you were dating to break up.” At the time, I truly used this as my mantra and fully agreed. But now, as a young adult, I realize that it puts a huge amount of pressure and a strain on the relationship. Who knows, maybe you will get married – that would be great! But with that thought in the back of your head, it will undoubtedly cause recurring stress to make sure everything is perfect, creating a toxic attachment. Keep whatever relationship you are in light and know that even if you don’t end up being each other’s “Stagmate,” your connection with the person was not a waste of time – it will still be a learning experience to know what you do or don’t want to find in your actual life partner. 

Keep your friends close – A lot of the time, when we are obsessed with our significant other, we block out our friends and tend to spend all of our free time with only this person. I beg of you, please do not do this. It’s so easy to be unaware that you are pushing yourself into a hole, especially when you no longer live with your parents who would be there to tell you that you cannot go wherever you please. With this freedom, make sure you still include your peers in your schedule. This might mean splitting the day between your significant other and your friends or spending Fridays with your “person” and Saturdays with your roommates. Not being with your S.O. all of the time also allows for a healthy relationship. You need to have time apart to maintain your own interests and hobbies, otherwise, you’ll end up creating codependency and if you were to break up, you’ll have realized you lost yourself in the relationship.

Don’t let it affect your school work – This might sound silly and obvious, but don’t let a relationship deter your success. I personally know lots of couples who skip classes for that extra hour together or who disregard their deadlines so that they can go on more dates. Of course, you should see your boyfriend or girlfriend whenever you want, however, make sure your academic life is not impacted. Remind yourself that you can still see them after your two-hour lecture and they’ll still be your partner if you wait to text them once you’re done studying. Don’t be the reason you grow to resent them and stay adamant about creating boundaries. 

Comparing Yourself – I will be the first one to say that it absolutely sucks seeing couples walk across campus hand-in-hand … I mean, it really, truly does suck. It’s so easy to say, “why isn’t that me?” But you don’t know their story. Everyone is different and everyone has their own origin story. That girl might be in her first relationship after years of pinning for some sort of love. And that boy might’ve just finally healed over a long, brutal breakup. You never know what a person went through for them to get where they are today. When you see those happy couples gushing over their partner, just remind yourself to be patient and wait for your time to come – because if you rush yourself into a relationship just because you’re lonely and not because you actually like the person, things will not end in your favor. 

So … my advice for dating in college? Just let it happen. Go with the flow. There is nothing better than meeting an incredible person spontaneously and forming a unique bond together. Allow yourself to have fun, with little expectations (though still make sure they are treating you right!) and keep these tidbits in mind. Also know that even if it doesn’t work out, these experiences, heartbreak and all, are a magical part of becoming an adult and finding yourself.

About The Author

-- Senior I Executive Editor I English Creative Writing & Digital Journalism --

Brooke is a senior English Creative Writing and Digital Journalism major, with minors in Film, Television & Media and Editing & Publishing. She plans to pursue a career in screenwriting after graduation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.