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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

“Always go to college single” and “break up with your partner before you start school” are two pieces of typical advice graduating high school seniors receive. The reasoning is usually that these relationships “limit your freedom” or “are a distraction.” As most students have been told, college is the time to create yourself and explore who you are. This is all true; college is the time for self-discovery, but you do not have to be alone to discover yourself! 

My freshman year of college I attended the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. My high school boyfriend and I decided to be in a long-distance relationship. This was a crazy learning experience for us both individually and within our relationship. After my first semester, I recognized that I was unhappy at UNE and began to apply to other schools. I was left with the choice of a college in New York, 5 hours away, or Northeastern, the university that my boyfriend attends. Taking a step back and thinking about what Northeastern looked like from my own perspective, what I liked about the university itself, and if I could picture myself fitting in on campus, I was confident in my decision. When I finally enrolled at Northeastern, I was immediately faced with the reactions of my friends and family: “that’s wonderful, are you excited to be with your boyfriend?” and “that’s so great because your boyfriend goes there, right?”, oh and also “he must be so happy you are following him to NU.”

Mostly I was frustrated that instead of congratulating me on the accomplishment of getting into a very difficult school, people decided that I was only excited about my new college because of my boyfriend. So in spite of all those irritating comments, I want to share a few pieces of positive advice I have received about attending the same college as your significant other. 

  1. The more friends the better! 

One of the best pieces of advice I received was that although it is important to establish your own friends separate from your partner and their friends, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a shared network too. When I arrived on campus this fall, my boyfriend’s friend group immediately took me in as their friend too, but I was determined to find my own group of friends as well. Everyone is nervous about making new friends at college. If you and your significant other can enjoy friend groups together and individually, it will be a benefit to both parties. To be extremely clear, this does not mean only making the same friends and hanging out 24/7, this means making friends you can enjoy spending time with together and making friends you enjoy spending time with apart from your significant other.

  1. Use your differences as a way to celebrate each other. 

Circling back to self-discovery and college exploration, you and your partner will develop different interests at college, whether that takes the form of joining clubs and student organizations, Greek life, changing majors, or studying abroad. These differences are a healthy way to celebrate your independence and a newfound sense of self at school. This is the most important time to be supportive and encourage your significant other to join a club they are interested in or take that hard class that they have been dreading. Supporting the growth of one another in a hands-off and open-minded manner is the key to developing healthy independence, plus it will give you fun new experiences to talk about and bond over. 

  1. It’s OK to spend time together.

While on the topic of support, I want to address the biggest benefit of attending the same university as your significant other. While most people will tell you to stay away from your partner and not to become dependent on them, sometimes you need a shoulder to cry on. When you have a hard day and you failed a test or handed in an assignment late or even if you just spilled your coffee on the way to class and now have a giant stain on your favorite sweatshirt, there is a person who knows you better than anyone right there for you to lean on. It can be incredibly overwhelming to be a college student and there are a lot of big decisions you are making about your future at this age, so having someone close to you so that you can talk things through is a dream come true. While it is important to establish independence from each other and explore your lives separately, your partner will be there for you when you need a boost and you will be there for them. Spending time together and working through these struggles creates a support system that can be of great benefit to both people in the relationship. 

  1. Boundaries! Boundaries! Boundaries! 

I know this is starting to sound negative, but I promise it’s not. Boundaries are the best way to learn about your significant other. Setting boundaries from the start, then adjusting as needed is a great way to feel in touch with your partner’s needs. Boundaries sound scary, but they are so healthy and I can guarantee that after having just one conversation about boundaries you will feel closer to your partner than ever. Just as you want to make them feel comfortable in this new environment, they want to make you feel comfortable too. When you talk about what you need from each other in order to make this adjustment it brings a lot of clarity to the relationship. Conversations about boundaries can be awkward in the moment, but are necessary to achieve long-term satisfaction. Use boundaries as a way to open up interesting topics with your partner and you will learn about each other in the process. 

Going to college with your significant other is a big decision and should not be taken lightly, but if the school is right for both of you individually, there is no reason it can’t be an option for you as a couple. Many people will make negative comments about the circumstance and will point out the flaws of dating while in college, but I can assure you that there are many positives that come with attending the same school as your partner. When you build communication and encouragement into the foundation of a relationship you create a space in which you can thrive individually and together. Going to college single is always an option but never a requirement, the experience can be equally as fun and exploratory when you’re taken. 

Jane Richards

Northeastern '25

Hey!! My name is Jane, I am currently a Junior at Northeastern University studying Health Science on the Pre-Nursing Track. I am super interested in women’s health and substance use disorder Nursing. Aside from medicine, I enjoy reading, writing ,horse-back riding, and rock climbing.