Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Dating for the First Time in College

In the honor of “cuffing season” I decided to get raw and real about my dating experiences. This will be both awkward and uncomfortable. Buckle up and enjoy!

When I came to college I felt wildly behind other students. Not physically or academically, but in the context of dating. I didn’t do a lot of dating in high school. There was a limited supply of what I deemed to be “cute boys” and that contributed to my poor dating life. Additionally, in high school I was really shy and was pretty insecure. I had a hard time making eye contact much less talking to a boy I liked. So when I was a young teen, I focused on my studies, and stayed home with my family. So, for the sake of my fragile pride, I would consider the choice not to date mostly voluntary.

College was a real game changer for me. When I moved into the dorms away from the watchful eye of my family and the scrutinizing criticism of my hometown, I felt a shift in myself. I started to look at myself differently. I started taking more chances in my fashion and in my makeup. Being in a new environment where I was a clean slate was so empowering. I felt like I could be and do anything. And eventually, I actually started to look at myself and feel beautiful.

Another change for me in college was the shocking amount of diverse and good looking people I came across day to day. I honestly had never seen so many beautiful people in one place. It was so overwhelming that I literally developed a new crush every time I turned a corner. It was AMAZING. And naturally I am a romantic. I LOVE love. My brain was alive with the idea of a possible romance.

But again, I was so behind everyone else. I didn’t know how to date. I had hardly kissed a boy and I had no idea about commitment issues (which are SO real). I was really scared that when people would find out that I had never had a boyfriend before, they would think something was inherently wrong with me. Like they would wonder, “what’s wrong with her, there must be something off if no one wanted to date her before?” I knew that this insecurity was only going to further hinder my social life and that if I wanted to be successful in love I would have to squash it. I really had to be blunt with myself. I told myself to get over it. And to shock it out of my system; when a guy that I had been recently acquainted with asked me out, I said yes. I made myself look at my reflection, I told myself I was a normal and desirable person. Eventually, after a VERY long while, I realized that my lack of experience isn’t something to be embarrassed about and that people move at their own pace and it’s totally fine. People weren’t going to care, the guy I went on a date with didn’t care. And while that date, never progressed to a second date (my choice), it really helped soothe my dating anxieties.

And while my self confidence had grown and I was really feeling myself, I struggled with getting up the courage to talk to guys I was interested in. I told myself I’d have to settle with staring across the dining center at these guys. And for a while, that’s all I did. But I was watching my friends and strangers have a blast dating and I was so jealous. The guys who did approach me and showed interest were confronted with my shy and awkward demeanor. And in the end, either I wasn’t what they were looking for, or vice versa.

I was at a standstill. I wanted to date. I felt I was ready to date. I just didn’t know how to meet people. So while it went against my beliefs of love and while I was mildly embarrassed, I joined a dating app. And for a while I felt so vulnerable and I was so scared of rejection but that faded and I started talking to some interesting and cool guys. It was such a change for me. But it was really fun. I started going on dates. I had a few really bad ones and some guys did hurt my feelings. I also had a few really good dates. The guys were very nice and funny. I went on a couple of dates and I had a lot of fun. And while, in the end, I wasn’t ready to commit to anyone yet because I refuse to settle for anything less than pure and true love (EEK). But I learned a lot from these experiences. I learned about what I was looking for: the type of guy, the type of relationship, the dynamic. It was really helpful. I learned about the kind of person I was in relationships and realized the values I wanted from a relationship.

Currently, I’m on a break from dating. But romance is always on the brain. I’m still continuously growing and discovering new things about myself and what I am looking for. I’m sure when I enter the dating arena again, I’ll be dealing with a lot of the same anxieties I had previously encountered. Thankfully, now I am more self aware and have reasonable methods of coping with those pesky insecurities.

Dating for the first time for anyone is hard. It’s scary and no matter what you’ll probably feel insecure. And there are A LOT of people out here experiencing it for the first time; You are not weird or alone in this struggle. But I really think it’s important to love yourself and know who you are before you make a relationship a part of your life. My advice for anyone dating for the first time is to think about what you want, what you don’t want in a relationship. In these circumstances, you can be your own worst enemy; it’s best to know yourself and respect yourself. It’s best to remember that you deserve to be comfortable, respected, and happy in a relationship and your partner is entitled to the same. And while dating is so hard, the endgame could turn out to be very rewarding.


1, 2

Sarina Garnica

U Wyoming '22

Sarina is a first generation college student at the University of Wyoming. She is a criminal justice major with a strong interest in the law. She comes from a small town from Wyoming and is the middle child of eight children. She is romantic, imaginative, and determined. She also is a true crime enthusiast. She loves podcasts, books, and watching anything with subtitles. Her goal for the future is to attend law school and make great contributions to society with her work.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️