Why Starting College Single Is the Best Decision You Can Make

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By the time graduation rolls around, you and your high school boyfriend or girlfriend have likely been through quite a lot together. After countless study sessions, lunch dates and late night meet-ups, you might think it is impossible to move onto the next stage of your life without them by your side. 

Being in love is great and all, but what about that quintessential college experience? We have put together a list of reasons why breaking it off with your high school sweetheart just might be the best decision you could make before heading off to college.

1. You get to meet new people

As you look around the auditorium at your freshman orientation, you will find yourself encircled by complete and total strangers. Your orientation leaders will probably give you some spiel about how you are going to meet your life-long best friends, future bridesmaids and abiding partners in crime within the next four years. Chances are, you will take this in as some empty and cliché talk that they have to give to every wide-eyed freshman, entering the hallowed halls of the university. 

Even though it might sound like some sappy and rehearsed allocation, the fact that you are going to make friends that will be by your side for the rest of your life could not be more accurate. Meeting new people in college is just as important as the actual classes you attend. 

When college students were asked about what they felt they missed out on the most by starting college with an old high school flame still in their lives, the overwhelming response was that they missed out on meeting new people.

Valerie Valledor, a freshman at the University of Florida, says, “The time I was spending FaceTiming my long-distance boyfriend was time that I could have spent meeting new people, which is exactly what you should be doing in college! Meeting new people helps you to grow as a person.”

The importance of meeting new people in college applies to more than just making close friends. Experiencing relationships with new people is also important when it comes to growing and evolving as a person. You never know what else is out there and it is possible that by staying with your high school sweetheart, you are keeping yourself from finding your collegiette heartthrob.

2. You won’t miss out on any experiences

The experiences that you have during the four years you have at college are unlike those that you will experience at any other point in your life. According to Rhonda Ricardo, relationship expert and author of Cherries Over Quicksand, “Over 90 percent of people polled believe college students will have a richer higher-education experience if they remain single throughout their college education.” 

She further explains that “college students in committed off-campus relationships are known to not attend dances, outings or events on dates or with groups of friends, because their SO might get jealous…they do not want to hurt their SO’s feelings, start gossip or lead anyone on, so they stay home and miss the later-to-be-exaggerated and cherished memories everyone hopes to earn while pursuing their final diplomas.”

Even if you and your SO trust each other completely, it will become nearly inevitable to not feel guilty when you are out having fun without them. After breaking up with her high school boyfriend, Melody Dickson, a freshman at the University of Florida, says, “I have so much fun when I go out because I really don't have to worry about much.”

Valerie elaborates on the idea of an SO holding you back by saying that it is nice to no longer have a “third parent” to worry about.

I mean, what is college without being able to flirt with all the hunky frat guys you want or ogle over the bodacious belle in the lib?

Related: The Best Things About Leaving a Long-Term Relationship

3. You have a chance to find yourself

Going off to college is the time for new beginnings. No one is the same person they were when they graduated high school and we should all be very thankful for that. When you go to college, you will grow and change in so many unimaginable ways. The people you meet and the things that you learn are going to change you forever.

Going into college solo allows you to reinvent yourself. Holding onto such a big part of who you were in high school can cripple your ability to grow and explore new parts of yourself.

One benefit to breaking it off with your high school beau is being able to “explore your sexuality,” says Alison Carter, a sophomore at the University of Florida. She went on to explain that going into college single “gives you room to grow as a person.”

4. You have more time

College is insane. With back-to-back exams, lectures, papers, parties and club meetings, who the heck has time for a serious relationship? As a freshman, you are just beginning to learn how to manage your precious time and I don’t know about you, but the rare free time that I have is spent catching up on the sleep that I’ve been missing out on since the second I stepped foot on campus.

Having a serious relationship with anyone, especially a long distance one with your high school sweetheart, can really take up a lot of your time. After splitting with her boyfriend, Melody says that it “lets [her] really focus on [her] studies because [she] don't have someone constantly texting [her] to see what [she's] doing.”

I mean we already have to worry about keeping our parents updated so that they can vicariously live through us. Why add another person to the list? College is about you and your time. Hanging onto your old relationship is just adding unnecessary stress to your life.

5. If it is really meant to be, they will be there after college

It might be rare that high school sweethearts end up together, but that isn’t to say that it never happens. However, this does not mean that you have to stay together when you go away to college.

Saying goodbye to your first love can be heart-wrenching and incredibly painful, especially when you realize that it has to be done despite how you feel. Being able to take time for yourself and experience college on your own is an important milestone in most young peoples’ lives. 

You can always remain on good terms with your high school SO after leaving for college and get back together if you realize you truly cannot live without them. What is meant to be will always find a way to work out. Melody says that she and her ex still keep in touch and that “breaking up is the best test for a relationship because it really will happen if it's supposed to!”

Even though it seemed like the worst thing in the world when it happened to me, I am incredibly relieved that my high school boyfriend and I broke up before college, even though we were attending the same university. 

Other collegiettes had very similar responses in their post-graduation break-ups, such as Melody who says, “Although at the time I was heartbroken, now I realize that it is the best thing that's ever happened to me,” and Alison who says, “Breaking up with my ex was the best thing to even happen to me my freshman year.”

DISCLAIMER: Sometimes it works out

Starting off college single is definitely an amazing experience and while most of the time you aren’t going to end up with your high school sweetheart, sometimes staying with them can be worth it.

Sophie Ville, a freshman at the University of Florida, is one of the few who has successfully been able to stay with her boyfriend from home and make it work long distance. Realizing that they were so in love and both felt that the relationship was worth the struggle, they decided to make it work.

Sophie says that she realizes what she and her boyfriend have is rare but because “neither of us are too clingy, we have been able to live our own lives in college while remaining together.”

She went on to explain that there are actually numerous advantages to entering college with a boyfriend. "You never have to worry about impressing boys at parties and the guys you do meet are only going to be your friends," she says.

Sophie was still able to form incredible friendships and live college life to the fullest, all while maintaining a long-distance relationship with her high school boyfriend. Despite the fact that this might be uncommon, sometimes it is definitely worth it.

Whether you decide to begin your college experience without an SO or think the two of you are meant to be, make sure you're happy! College should be an exciting time in your life and no one should get in the way of that!

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About The Author

Abigail Miller is a freshman at the University of Florida. She is studying journalism and political science and hopes to become a political journalist. She writes for Spoon University, in addition to writing for Her Campus and is very involved in different clubs and activities on her school's campus. When she isn't writing or studying, she loves running, painting and drinking excessive amounts of coffee. Follow her on twitter and keep up with her latest articles! @abigailm_miller