The psyop that is relationships in college
The first half of February is marked with an unbelievable rush for romantic connection. For those who fumbled their play during the aptly named “cuffing season,” the ever-looming holiday created by the Hershey Company to sell Halloween chocolate surplus feels like going into the Super Bowl with a fourth string quarterback. The problem only seems to proliferate in your early 20s. As a young adult there’s no more buying a 30 pack of Hannah Montana adorned valentines and a family sized bag of lollipops to give to all the kids in your class. You’re in the big leagues now, with flowers, quality time spent together, and who knows, maybe even a soft launch on Instagram. For those whose previous relationship experience consists of a weeklong stint when you were in middle school, dating now feels daunting. Not to mention how popular culture assumes that the people you date during college are the dress rehearsals for the real thing. Hell, some people are here with the express purpose of finding their spouse. For those of you looking to the campus newspaper for guidance, may these words from the girl who still stalks her ex from a fake LinkedIn account guide you. Being in a relationship is not a precursor to a fulfilling college experience.
While I may not be the most qualified to spread this gospel, that has never stopped me from sharing my unsolicited opinion. I think the college experience is such a significant period in one’s life that to taint it with a lacklustre introduction to courtship sullies the experience. You’re not missing out on much, especially not anything that can’t be made up for when you graduate and move very, very, far away from this place. In a town of 5000, most of whom lack a fully formed prefrontal cortex, do you really think you’re forming genuine connections? Take it from someone who’s from a city of 1.78 million (subtle flex). If you are duly concerned with finding a person, your person, there are many bigger ponds out there with far more interesting fish. Let this be consolation to those of you who aren’t active participants in the Sackville dating pool, you’re not missing out on much of anything.
Furthermore, sociologists have coined seven love styles adapted from the ancient Greeks. Agape, which is an all-giving, selfless love. Ludus is the game-playing, noncommittal love. Storge, a down-to-earth, friendship love. Mania, the dependent and possessive love. Eros, aptly named after the Greek god of passion, is passionate, lustful love. Finally, pragma is the logical, “shopping list” love. With love coming in a multitude of forms during such a formative time in your life, should you really be blinded by just one? While mania isn’t exactly the kind of thing I can recommend with full confidence, I do think developing and maintaining healthy friendships is integral to prolonged happiness. Not to mention, no one likes the friend that ditches the group for their significant other.
Continuing on the formative period note, your 20s are marked by their ever-changing status. You’re constantly evolving as a person, defining the person you want to be. Developmental psychologist Erik Erikson is most notable for coining the term identity crisis. He spent a lot of his younger years bouncing around from being an artist, to studying and getting his doctorate and developing his theories. This is a sort of upwards trajectory for an identity crisis to have. But that’s exactly what your 20s should be. A time to gain as much identity capital as possible, turning yourself into a compelling adult. Knowing this, is committing yourself to a monogamous relationship with a square really going to gain you that much identity capital? Just a thought to keep in mind as you gaze longingly at that cute person in class who can’t string a sentence of more than seven words together. Instead, you currently have an opportunity to accumulate all the great personality points from everyone you come across.
Just to reiterate, I am very well the last person to have any objective say in this argument, but if I may back up my credentials, I am a strong believer in the adage that coaches don’t play. Some may call me bitter or jaded, but I like to think that I’m making a somewhat informed decision to value my peace and personal growth. I’d like to leave you with some words from the famed female rapper Azealia Banks: “You think you need a boyfriend but you really just need to workout and eat an avocado. Drink some green tea my seesta, it will be alright.”