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Never in my life did I expect to be going into college with a boyfriend, and I feel like a lot of other young women can relate to that sentiment. College is typically associated with finding yourself and meeting new people, especially through parties and hook-up-related events. But college isn’t the same for everyone, nor does it need to be all about finding a new flavor of the weekend at every other party you attend. If that’s not your thing, then maybe sticking with your high school significant other isn’t such a bad idea after all. Dating someone who goes to a completely different college may be daunting, but if you really love that person and see a future with them, what’s the harm in trying to make it work? 

While not all young couples are in the same situation as I’m in, I’m lucky enough to be able to see my semi-long distance boyfriend every weekend, or every other weekend if our schedules clash. In choosing to see each other every weekend, we had a lot of planning to do before leaving for college. Allow me to explain how we broke it down.

Around the time we decided to stay together–roughly early April–we started searching for jobs and got hired before the end of senior year. Prior to actually working at those jobs, we built a budget.

We looked at our respective school’s calendars to see when classes start, when breaks take place and when the school year ends. In doing so, we counted a total of 32 weekends in the school year. We divided up those weekends amongst the two of us and began looking at various methods of transportation, later settling on two potential options.

Because neither of us was bringing a car to college, rental cars were our first choice. Upon further research, we learned that companies typically don’t rent cars out to 18-year-olds, and if they do, the rates end up being crazy high. Thankfully, Amtrak came to our rescue.

Amtrak offers bus and train services that can take you all over California, as well as the U.S. itself. My boyfriend’s school is about a 2.5-hour drive from San Luis Obispo, making it a 4 to 5-hour long bus or train ride. We figured that was reasonable enough and we could just get some studying out of the way before we saw each other. The bus and train are also much cheaper than paying for a flight or for gas in a car. They cost roughly $25 to $45 depending on the trip itself. 

Based on all of these numbers, we figured out we’d be paying roughly $80 a weekend for 16 weekends each, which led to our grand total of $1280 for the entire year. A piece of every paycheck we received went toward that total, and we easily made enough money from our jobs over the summer in order to make our travel expenses doable.

I know that $1280 sounds like a lot of money, and that’s because it really is. However, there are two benefits to saving that money. The first is that you learn how to save and budget money properly, which is essential to being a successful and responsible adult in the real world. The second benefit is that you get to see your SO! Putting in the effort and working hard toward that goal makes seeing each other even more rewarding. 

Bumps in the road are expected to come up in terms of traveling; one actually happened to me this past weekend. First, we ordered an Uber to take us to the train station where the Amtrak bus would be picking my boyfriend up. After he left, I was on my own and had to figure out a way back to my dorm. Unfortunately, the city buses were down and Uber didn’t have any available drivers. I felt overwhelmed since I didn’t know how I’d make it back. Luckily, a friend came to my rescue and was able to pick me up from the station.

Little traveling inconveniences, like the one from this weekend, maybe really frustrating but can easily be worked through; all it takes is communication and flexibility. After dealing with an issue like that, you’ll have a plan on how to tackle similar situations that arise, and at least next time you’ll have a better idea of what to expect. 

Not every couple is as lucky as we are to be able to see each other every weekend, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some sort of travel work. As long as you always have time set aside for each other, you have something to work toward as a team, allowing that flame between the two of you to steadily burn. 

Carisa Joyner

Cal Poly '25

Carisa is a first year English major. She wrote for her high school's online newspaper, the Veritas Shield, about politics, relationships, campus news, etc and worked as the Social Media Editor her Senior year. In her free time, Carisa enjoys going on little adventures with her boyfriend and friends, and sharing photos from her life on VSCO.
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