One Wednesday night sitting in my floormate’s room, I looked around and realized that I was the seventh wheel on the bus of happy couples. This was not a gradual realization - bus ran right through the stop sign and hit me at 50 mph. Certainly I was shocked, but then again, maybe it was my fault for being a unicyclist in a town of carpoolers.
Straight-up third-wheelin' (Photo Credit)
For the first time since middle school, I’m in a deeply committed relationship with myself. After being in one relationship or another for the past seven years of my life, I could put “professional girlfriend” on my resume - I know exactly how to act when dating someone. However, since I decided to enter college unattached, I’ve realized that I have no idea how to act like a single person.
Even though Batesies complain endlessly about our “hookup culture,” I think that college is the best time to be single. It’s where we’re supposed to be exploring and diving into our personal pool of interests, and it’s really the last time we have no serious financial obligations or commitments and can be unapologetically selfish. Post-college, we’re expected to find a job, get married and start a family (sorry mom, I’m not looking for my future husband my freshman year of college).
All the single ladies... (Photo Credit)
Even still, quasi-anonymous pleas for companionship flood apps like YikYak and Tinder. However, because the general population would agree that you wouldn’t really call a phone number posted on YikYak, I have to wonder, "What’s the point?" Do people - Batesies, in particular - understand that they’re not going to get a reply to, “Ugh. Girl seeking boy with which to cuddle and watch Netflix”? Personally, I think it’s a cry for help. By posting tweets and YikYaks about how lonely you are, you want people to commiserate with you, not date you. However, I don’t think this feeling of loneliness and confusion is necessarily a bad thing! By confronting the uncomfortable feelings associated with focusing on the self, we’re better able to take advantage of the college experience by finding out who we really are.
By not actively looking for a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and focusing instead on the cliché of finding yourself, you can come to some pretty scary realizations about yourself. And, just so you know, I'm not throwing shade at people in fulfulling relationships - props to you - I've just come to see that I'm not ready to date! Are the people who complain incessantly about the hookup culture at Bates in the same boat as me? I wonder if they have stepped back and thought about why they want a relationship. If they want a relationship because they are scared to spend some quality alone time with the big ME, is it healthy to rely on someone else to assuage that insecurity? Wouldn't that just make us emotional babies, trying to hold hands before we can even walk?
The beautiful and terrifying thing about college, though, is that you don't have to do this. You don't have to know who you are. And it may be scary, but there is nothing wrong with spending these four years getting to know yourself a little bit better.