Throughout my time writing for Her Campus, I’ve always toed the line of just how personal I wanted to get on the internet. I mean, not that I don’t consider every person who stumbles upon my articles to be anything other than an internet friend I just haven’t officially met, but you know what I mean. However, as I enter my final year of my undergraduate career (which, yes, is absolutely terrifying, thank you for asking) I’ve decided it’s time I finally get down to writing the article I’ve been pushing off for so long. After three long years, it’s time to talk about dating (or not dating) in college.
I’ve never been someone who’s thought you needed to be single to truly find happiness within yourself. Alternatively, I’ve also never believed that you necessarily lose a part of yourself while in a relationship. Rather, I’ve stuck closer to the idea that you won’t always be happy alone and you won’t always be happy with someone else. What matters the most is being content with understanding that you’re no more or less of a person in either situation — you’re still just you (and who you are is pretty great).
That being said, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that during the transition from high school to college you’re supposed to want to go through some kind of complete personality makeover. And some people do (which is completely fine), while others simply choose to stick to what they know (again, also fine). For some, part of this makeover is the belief that getting a significant other is something that should be wanted, if not expected. What better dating pool than a campus of thousands of people your age with a similar mentality and schedule?
Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly support dating in college. You can ask any of my friends, I will be the first person to shuffle you into an Uber to go meet your crush. College is the perfect time to meet people who have the same interests and wants as you, but that doesn’t mean that every interaction you have has to be laced with some sort of “will they/won’t they” undertone. You can make friends of the opposite sex in college with no other intentions aside from eating together in an overpriced cafeteria or sharing notes in a class.
[bf_image id="qfw1up-6g1dg8-8bpp20"] However, throughout my time in college, the one thing I’ve never really seen talked about in a positive light is the idea that not wanting or feeling the need to date in college is normal; it's just as valid. And in case you’ve never heard it, let me be the first to say it: you’re no less of a 19-20-21-year-old for not downloading Tinder. You’re in college, you’re not on The Bachelor — there's no chance of being sent home at a rose ceremony if you don’t have a date this Friday night.
Your choice to date, or not to date, at any point in your life is your choice and your choice only. Repeat that as many times as you need to — in front of the mirror, in the shower, into your hairbrush during your private concert while you’re deep cleaning. I know I haven’t graduated yet, so what I’m about to say has exactly no scientific proof behind it, but I’m willing to guess that there's no final “dates I’ve gone on” score above your head as you walk across the stage to accept your diploma.
Your relationship status doesn’t, nor will it ever, reflect on you as a person, your accomplishments or your ability to love and be loved in return. How you chose to spend your time in college is entirely dependent on your goals and what brings you happiness. If it’s focusing on getting a 4.0 GPA — I wish you the absolute best of luck and all the caffeine in the world. On the other hand, if it’s hoping to meet your soulmate — give me a time, place and address and I’ll have the Uber at your door with no questions asked. And for what it’s worth — single, taken or it’s complicated — you still don’t owe anyone an explanation for your choices.