Why a Breakup During Your Freshman Year of College Is a Good Thing

Even though everyone said that college is supposed to be the best time of your life, I was nervous to start school. I’m a creature of habit, and moving away to go to school is one of the biggest changes one can make — but I knew that I would have my boyfriend with me to comfort me and be my support system while I was adjusting to this new phase of my life. I was excited to know (and was honestly really counting on the fact) that I would be able to still hold onto a piece of home through the form of my boyfriend. As you can guess by the article title, it didn’t exactly go this way, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

The summer before moving to college, my boyfriend broke up with me. He said the reason for the break-up was that as much as he loved me, he wanted to be single in college. Hearing those words hurt. I had spent the past few months picturing him visiting me at school, tailgating with me and being my rock as I transitioned into living in a triple with random roommates. It especially hurt to know that while I was picturing our future, he was thinking of ways to dump me. I didn’t understand how he could have thrown away two years of a relationship just to be single in college. Now, a year later, I can say that my ex might have been onto something — this is the only thing I’ll admit he was right about. As much as it hurts to feel alone after a break-up, it can truly be a good thing for you to be single, especially for your freshman year.

So, what now?

After sitting in the dark, binging Netflix and crying… a lot, you realize that you’re alone and it’s time to move forward. This sounds sad, but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of dwelling on why things ended or how things could have gone differently, think of what you can do to grow into the person you want to be.

I joined clubs, made all new friends and took a lot of time to think of everything I had learned from my ex and our past relationship. I got to look back and see what traits I want in a future boyfriend and relationship. It’s cheesy to say that a break-up helped me learn more about myself and what I wanted out of life, but I felt like I had been on a sort of Eat, Pray, Love journey. Instead of going to India and Italy to learn more about myself, I came to Gainesville, so essentially the same thing, right? I learned through bad blind dates, going back to my ex and a lot of confusion that this thing that felt so negative was actually just an opportunity for me to grow.

Enjoy being alone

Being alone is typically looked at as a negative thing. I was always uncomfortable with being alone and felt that I had to be with someone wherever I went: the mall, lunch or even the bathroom. Once I came to college, I started to do more things alone. I would go have coffee or just sit outside and read or study. These are all such small things, but after having been attached to another person for so long, it felt good to just be. I didn’t have to make sure that I was texting someone throughout the day or waiting for a text or call back.

It feels nice to know that your time is all just yours and you can do whatever you’ve always wanted to whenever you want. I think you need to be comfortable alone to be able to really have a healthy relationship in the future. I’m embarrassed to admit that I grew to rely on my ex so much that I would text him pictures of food I had and ask if he thought I could eat it or if it was moldy already. This sounds stupid now, but when you’re in love, you get blinded by who you love and turn to them for everything — even the smallest things.

It isn’t necessarily bad to rely on others, especially your significant other, but we all need some period in our lives when we should learn what it means to be truly alone. This means to learn how to cook, change a tire or do laundry without anybody there to help us at a moment’s notice. It feels amazing to accomplish something alone even if it is just being able to see if a bagel is too moldy to eat.

Really experience your freshmen year here

It’s not bad to be in a relationship and spend time talking and hanging out together.  Personally, though, I know I would have had a very different freshmen year if I stayed together with my ex. Because I was single and didn’t really know anyone, I took every opportunity I had to try to create a new support system for myself here. I had more free time and was able to meet some of my best friends, find out what I was passionate about and get back into writing. If I had stayed with my ex, I would have been driving home to see him on the weekends and not truly getting adjusted to being at UF. I think there is a way to balance a relationship, school and friends, but freshmen year is such a stressful, different time that it makes balancing it all a little more difficult.

Just let it go

As hard as it might feel to truly let go and move on, it is the best thing you will do. I kept thinking that my ex would realize he made the biggest mistake of his life by dumping me, but it never happened. I spent a big chunk of my freshmen year imagining how things could change between us and how he would change his mind, but with the more time that went on, I realized that I didn’t want to get back together. He was great, and I was heartbroken for a reason, but he was not somebody that I could see meshing well with the person I was becoming.

In high school, things are a bit simpler. In our small suburb, there wasn’t much to do other than going to the movies or heading out to eat. Our relationship worked great in high school, but in college, you start to see what you would want in the real world when things get messy and you need someone you know will be there for you. Waiting around and thinking things will change ends up hurting more in the long run. You’ll figure out, much like I did, that yes, there is more out there than just what you knew in high school!

Even if you were the one that dumped your significant other before college, you did what was right for you at the time, and that’s all that matters. As horrible as it might sound, this time in our lives is one of the last times we can be selfish. This time is solely ours so take advantage of. So wipe away those tears and sign out of Netflix — it’s time to get out there and enjoy your single time!