A heart that keeps beating: four years of college dating



Katie Saltz

Four years on this campus has taught me many things. And no, this isn’t your end of the year “cherish your friends, go to class,” blah blah column. I created the heartbeat, and by God I wanted to finish my senior year with it. But now that I am settling down, planning a family and out of the dating game, all I can offer is a reflection. So here it goes: What I learned in four years of college dating.

First and foremost, get out of your circle. I can’t tell you how many people I know who would only date within their social group from high school. Why did you even move to college if you won’t branch out? It’s comfortable to date people you and all your friends know, but playing it safe won’t always lead to success. You are on a campus of more than 20,000 people, many from different cities, states or even countries. Go meet them and see if sparks fly with someone who does not share your high school mascot.

Speaking of 20,000 plus on campus, that’s a pretty big pond of fish—pretty much an ocean. So when you jump ship from a doomed relationship, don’t grieve like you are the last single person on the planet. Your options are endless. Cry a little, then wipe those eyes and open them up to the thousands of people on this campus. And don’t ever say, “there’s just no one out there for me.” If you do, chances are you are lazy.

If you are not single, but wishing you were, don’t wait too long. Four years goes by quickly (trust me) so wasting one minute in a bad relationship isn’t worth it. Don’t let an unhealthy relationship linger and suck the fun out of your college years. Get out early and get out fast. When your graduation day comes, do you really want to be adding up the months you spent unhappy with someone, or do you want to have too many amazing memories to recount?

Unfortunate enough to be the one friend in a group not in a serious relationship come graduation time? Don’t mope. You are not the last single senior on campus, so don’t sign up for your membership card to the lonely hearts club just yet. Graduating unattached can be a good thing. You are free to pursue a job anywhere you want, or travel Europe. Be selfish in your decisions!

That whole “be selfish” thing isn’t a blanket rule, but it can apply even when you are in a relationship, be it freshman or senior year. A committed relationship is a good thing, but don’t let it be your world. If you want to go to the basketball game with your friends, but don’t have a ticket for your significant other, you should probably go. It would suck to break up with that person somewhere along the way and realize you missed your chance to watch the next John Wall play in Rupp.

This next bit of advice cannot be bolded, italicized or underlined nearly enough. Don’t change for anyone but yourself. It’s hard enough to find your identity in college. Social pressure, an environment of constant discovery—all this contributes to making college a difficult place to find out who you really are. So if you are repressing your personality to appease someone you want to date, I can promise you it will never be worth it.

Happy graduation seniors, and I wish you a happy three more years, freshmen. I hope you find what you are looking for, whether it be a love that lasts a lifetime or just the discovery of the unique sound of your own heartbeat.