To Date or Not to Date | Ashleigh Hayman

They say relationships in college are a bad idea.

You may have left the worst years of raging hormones behind you, but the drama and emotions still follow you. As corny as it may sound, these are the years to find yourself, to make real friends and to push your own boundaries. In some ways having someone beside you can make it easy to sit around comfortably and never meet anyone else. It can be a good excuse not to go on that year abroad or to sign up for that time-consuming society. If you spend so little of your time on your own, you don’t have much time to just take note of where and who you are in your life.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that relationships are never a good idea. If you meet someone worthy, and I mean really worthy, then give it all you got because who knows who you could be passing up. But to all those ‘I really want to find someone’ / ‘you’re so lucky’ types – you underestimate how valuable being unattached really is. By taking that Facebook-changing step, you don’t just gain another half – you give up your Singledom.

Having someone there to hold your hand when times get hard, laugh at you and share the adventure – brilliant. Seeing less of your friends, being branded a ‘couple’ like you’re pariahs and spending countless nights watching New Girl might be great for your liver but it’s likely a waste of your time here in college. Middle age is approaching at an alarming rate, so there are plenty nights ahead involving TV and having to pencil in girl/lads nights around the Fella/Missus.

My advice: if you are lucky enough to find someone, jump at the chance, but don’t let it hold you back. Spend equal amounts of time on your own and with other people. Be DrinkAware, but don’t be boring or a couch potato. Just because you’ve found one best friend doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on a search for the rest of them. And never pass up an opportunity that you would have dreamed of if you were single (to clarify I mean Erasmus type chances, not wandering eyes type chances).

Finally, a warning that when you start dating. People may start treating you differently, no matter how hard you try. You stop being number one on the list of party animals to invite, you become the ‘girlfriend’ / ‘boyfriend’ instead of just the friend and people assume you want to spend all your time with each other. If you go to the same party, you’re seen as being there as a couple instead of two individual friends.111007_brandbox_americanpie.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large

Don’t be in a rush to get involved, there is plenty of time to find someone, and college is about you. However if you do find someone you can’t pass up, make sure your relationship adds to your life, not totally changes it.

And if you are a friend of someone in a relationship, stop treating him or her differently or complaining that they are all coupled up without giving them a chance to be the same person.

Most of all, college is about new and exciting experiences, whether or not you’re with someone. You’ve finally gained some freedom and become a ‘young adult’ so make the most of it. We’ll all have graduated and become oldies before we know it.