As I begin my senior year at Oswego State, I feel a bit of nostalgia as I recollect the past three years I have spent here. Two of those years were spent in a relationship, one of which was long distance, and another year was spent as an eligible bachelorette running rampant (or rather, stumbling incoherently) on Bridge Street and the surrounding areas. I have experienced both the relationship and single-life during my college years, and what I have gained from these experiences is that the college environment is not conducive to serious relationships. By being in one, you may cut yourself off from the valuable life lessons that college has to offer.
Most people would agree that the social life and connections the college environment has to offer are huge. This is a time to experiment, find your identity, be yourself and meet new people. It’s almost as if society has deemed unacceptable and reckless behavior normal during these four years.
If you are in a serious relationship during college, especially in the earlier years, you never really get to experience all the freedom that college freshman feel when they finally realize that their parents aren’t around anymore to dictate what they can or can not do. Instead of exploring new places without the fear of making curfew or having to hide the fact that you went out drinking all night, you have a significant other to explain your whereabouts and every detail of your experience to. This might make going out, meeting new people, letting loose and trying something new a chore.
To illustrate this example, I’ll provide a scenario that I’ve experienced numerous times. There are four female college juniors and it’s a Friday night. After a long week of classes, a fishbowl (a concoction of sugar, the color blue, triple the alcohol required to meet the binge drinking classification for one person, purchased our local sketchy bar) sounds like a nice treat!
One of the girls is in a relationship with a boy who goes to the same school, her decision: “I’m really tired, I’ll probably just stay in and watch “The Notebook” with my boyfriend, we’re ordering Domino’s.” Her outcome: she watches a movie, denies her boyfriend sex and falls asleep to “Nick at Nite” by 11 p.m.
The second girl is in a long-distance relationship, her decision: “I want to go out, but by boyfriend doesn’t trust me, he thinks I’m going to get drunk and cheat on him.” Her outcome: after her single friend’s persuasion, she goes out, texts her boyfriend the whole night, finds a poor soul at the bar that will listen to her relationship problems and leaves early to argue with her boyfriend on the phone.
The third and fourth girls are single and ready to mingle, their decision: “Let’s go get fishbowl-wasted.” Their outcome: they dance the night away, end up hooking up with random guys, but have stories to tell of that night, allowing them to laugh about their follies for years to come.
I can hear couples screaming “but what about love?!” or “my significant other doesn’t restrict my freedom like that!” or “I’d rather be in a relationship than slut around.” Maybe you are the rare case, but more than likely you are just lying to yourself. When was the last time you truly laughed at the unforgettable time you had last weekend? When was the last time you were able to talk to the member of an opposite sex innocently without suspicion from your significant other? Do you really never wonder what it would be like to be single in a place where you have thousands of people of your own age to meet? Do you really think that your college significant other is your “true love?”
If your relationship is like any typical college relationship I have seen thus far, you are constantly questioning your relationship, whether you voice those doubts or not. It must be noted that the exception to this constant questioning can be found in new relationships. Blossoming love creates couples that are content with their feelings since they have filled that lonely void. But don’t worry; they will get sick of each other sooner than later.
The fact of the matter is, I’m not saying that relationships don’t work. In my opinion, they can work pretty well later in life. What I am saying is that being in a relationship in college may not be as important as you think. Sure, single people deal with loneliness and sometimes resort to recklessly drunk texting their exes at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday night, but hey, that’s the small price that single people pay for the most important quality of college life: freedom.