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

In this day and age, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the reality of the dating scene instead of dabbling in the vintage art of romance. The truth is that love is not the fantasy that generations of actors have displayed to us in cliche romantic comedies, but the exact opposite because love is complex. As the weather outside gets warmer, we’re reminded that “cuffing season” is still alive and well because even though the seasons are starting to change, people don’t stop looking for love.

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Lately, I’ve found myself dazed in the wonders of what life would be like now that “available” is my current relationship status. Although I have relished in the single world far more often than I would like to admit, I can’t help but have some pessimistic thoughts. I wonder what the truth is behind relationships, what truly causes people to express their emotions and form relationships and what causes them to fight or break up. 

So, what is it about the core of dating that makes it so easy to fall prey to our own negative emotions? In an attempt to grasp an understanding of monogamy in a college relationship, I began observing. I started walking to class without my safety net, I left my airpods in my dorm room so my ears would be open to the world during my treks around campus. The more monotonous the walk, the more I began to notice that it was getting harder and harder to see a flourishing relationship around campus. It was difficult to find someone who wasn’t controlled by their anxiety about public displays of affection; it seemed everyone I observed was more concerned with their official relationship status and what peers would think of them.

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That leaves one question. Should we even bother to look for love? In a college atmosphere there are basically two schools of thought. Either college is the perfect place to start a relationship, or it’s not. For some people, college is no man’s land for love; it’s a time to party and have fun without thinking too seriously about adult concerns. Others see it as an opportunity to build relationships and meet new people, making it the perfect place to find love. Still, it all seems irrelevant when those among us who are romantics at heart ignore the sparks of hope we feel from someone we met last Saturday night because we’re too afraid of striking out. We need to collectively realize that a lot of other people are also trying to make connections, and even if they’re not, it’s still worth it to be open to new experiences.

Even though “cuffing season” is traditionally winter-based, it’s not truly chained to any season. It may be more of something you stumble upon when fate sees fit to throw you a curveball. The important pondering we need to do is that when your time comes and someone happens to align with your path, are you going to link up or let the opportunity fall flat? 

The advice I have is simple. Be free and explore the unknown, don’t fear it. If someone wants to join you in living your life to the fullest, then embrace them, but don’t let it chain you down. Go out and just be: cuffed or not.

Erin is a senior at The College of New Jersey; she majors in Communications and is minoring in Professional Writing and Graphic Design. Erin is currently HCTCNJ's President. When she's not writing, Erin runs on TCNJ's track team; she loves to read, dance around, and spend time with her friends.