Dating in college is different from “any other setting”

Laquavia Smith/ Contributing Writer

Should love be on our agenda while in college? As a junior at Florida International University, I’ve noticed over the years that my love life is at times harder than my finals. With love often comes stress and while many believe that relationships are essential to the “college experience,” I beg to differ.

Even though hook-ups and dating can add a few extra “pizzas” to your college life, the end results can be detrimental to your mental, physical and emotional state of being. It’s important to note that dating in college is a bit different from dating in any other setting.

In college, you are surrounded by people ranging from the ages of 17 to 25, on average, who at times are overwhelmed and self-absorbed with their own dilemmas.

These issues alone can cause a person to be cruel, nonchalant or even emotionally detached from a situation whenever “dating” is the topic of discussion.

Whether it’s an official relationship, a fling or casual dinner dates, it can become intense and at times, excessively draining.

According to The Washington Post, maintaining friendships and relationships are a few of the reasons one can deal with college and the stress that comes along for the ride.

These bonds and memories you create throughout those four years serve as stress relievers. However, they also mentioned that one should  “avoid emotionally draining people.”

If I didn’t know any better, I would assume that I attract solely “emotionally draining people,” otherwise known as energy sucking vampires. EDP can be anyone, from your spring semester roommate, to the blonde guy in your calculus class and even your own mother.

Susan Svrluga, the author of The Washington Post article addressed reasons why one should “not allow friends or family members to dump added stress on you.” She explains that anxiety is indeed contagious during challenging times, especially during finals or homecoming week.

“It is crucial to direct your energy towards your own goals and projects,” she writes.

Even I have had my fair share of EDP and it’s not a polite feeling. You are constantly juggling with your emotions while simultaneously dealing with the emotions of the said EDP and any other things you have going on.

I remember having issues with my significant other throughout my freshman year during midterms week and I barely possessed the will or emotional stability to attend any of my exams. Yeah, dating is tough.

Aside from the thought that relationships, friendships and dating as a whole is beneficial and/or unbeneficial, many believe that in this day and age dating is basically a figment of our imagination and is no longer socially appropriate.

Harvard graduate and writer Charlotte Lieberman argues that her own generation in 2014 helped to begin this trend of emotionally empty individuals that would rather text than speak in person.

“We are a generation frightened of letting ourselves be emotionally vulnerable, addicted to communicating by text, and as a result, neglecting to treat each other with respect,” Lieberman writes in her Cosmopolitan article.

Lieberman walks us through the triumphs and troubles of her own college dating experiences and those of her associates.

“I am terrified of getting emotionally over invested when I’m seeing a guy. I’m scared of being totally honest,” Lieberman’s friend, Alix, said.

I, too, have constantly struggled with the tug-of-war of doing too much or doing too little, forever contemplating if I should behave how I want or if I should “play it cool.” I’m not going to lie. The hook-ups and “boo-thangs” that have presented themselves throughout my college career have been more problematic than entertaining.

And don’t even begin to talk about social media’s impact on this romantic frenzy.

From whose picture you’re liking to which girl your guy keeps tweeting, social media is the girl next door that keeps coming outside with her 6-inch heels and booty shorts.

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and even Tumblr can easily be the home-wrecker in any situationship.

Not only does social media play a role in the relationship as a middleman, but also as that friend who introduced your friend to his friend which resulted in them hooking up.

Apps like Tinder are more popular than ever, with 73 percent of college students rating Tinder as their favorite dating app, according to CNN. However, research shows that many students claim to only use Tinder to “find friends.”

Let’s be real, who wants to admit to the internet being their last resort? Trust me, we all do it. Aside from social media and dating apps, other issues that are prominent in college and youth dating are the terms, “ghosting, benching and zombieing.”

Prior to this article, I wasn’t even sure what the difference between the three were, however, a few days later here I am and I’m not ashamed to admit that I have indeed been “ghosted.”

I’ve been completely ignored, unfollowed and left to be forgotten. Ghosting is defined by The Huffington Post as “[getting] dumped via vanishing act. No more calls, no more texts, no responses to attempts at communications — radio silence.”

Okay, imagine that you meet this guy or this girl, and you two have an amazing time (or so you thought), the night ends well, you hug and share a quick peck on the lips, but then the next day you’re blocked on their Instagram. Yup, you were “ghosted.” There’s no room to talk it out, nor the ability to apologize or even slowly progress to something more.

An survey found that you’ve also likely been the ghost yourself at some point. The survey shows that 26 percent of women and 33 percent of men have practiced “ghosting” and have been ghosted, while 24 percent of women and 17 percent of men admit to ghosting but not being ghosted on.

Another very common dating term and action is “benching.” This is when you put someone on the back burner, not completely discarding them but neither giving them your attention or effort.

Typically, in the “girl world,” we see each other “benching” our counterparts if there’s someone else in the picture, if we are unsure if we like them or simply because we are way too busy.

Love guru Francesca Hogi describes “benching” as when “you’re not that into them, but you’re not ready to completely cut all ties, either—they like you, and you want to keep them as an option.”

I’m pretty sure “bench” dating is just as popular as the benching that occurs on the football field.

They say love is a dangerous game. This so-called love we all crave may be something that as young adults, we shouldn’t give it the time of day.

Love is like life; it comes and it goes, forever evolving and modifying our thoughts, values and personalities. Love has turned me cold while simultaneously turning me soft.

I’ve been madly in love and sadly out of it. If it were up to me, I’d stay far away from love until I achieved my degree. But to each their own.




The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo taken from Flickr.

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