College is a tricky time for all students in one way or another. Leaving home for the first time and without having someone there to remind you, force you, or encourage you out of bed in the morning to “get your ass to school,” it’s easy to find yourself justifying skipping three classes in one day just to watch six more episodes of New Girl. One of the biggest problems that both young men and women in college face though is, relationships.
The cliché that college is time to truly ‘find yourself’ isn’t cliché at all, it’s true. Many students find out things about themselves that they otherwise looked over in high school. Being an adult is hard and sometimes experiences that you face in the first few years of being on your own, shift and mold your views and beliefs on various things. In high school, I was always in and out of relationships, never ever taking time to think about myself and what I need to succeed in life, I only ever worried about how to keep my significant other around, scared they would leave. I was so scared of being alone, obsessed with the idea of being in love whether it was real or not. Looking back at 21, I had no idea who I was then, I have barely any idea who I am now. The thing is, nobody tells you that it’s OKAY. Friends and acquaintances, you see on Facebook or Instagram getting engaged while you’re sitting in the library studying for your third exam of the week or at the bar with your girlfriends drinking a beer. The only one waiting for you at home is your roommate who always leaves their dishes in the sink or your cat who only wants your attention when it’s hungry. That’s okay, those engaged or pregnant people figured that part of their life out sooner, that doesn’t mean that its “normal.”
Pop culture has normalized the image of the ‘perfect couple’ who live their lives in their own personal spotlight, posting their relationship all over various social media platforms. Movies display perfectly happy couples or that oh so common plot line in romantic comedy movies where ‘they’ always end up together in the end. Going to parties and meeting the love of your life, or bumping into them on the way to class, or they seek you out and sit by you at a coffee shop. Waiting for this to happen, actively looking for love isn’t going to solve that ache or fear in your gut of being alone. Investing your happiness in another person is a temporary fix, not a forever solution if you struggle with staying happy. Focusing on yourself and getting through school, getting into the career you want and love, you will find you drift towards people that belong in your life. Better yet, maybe you find someone who supports you in your ambition and aspirations.
Just remember, not having a boyfriend and girlfriend in college isn’t the end of the world. It doesn’t mean you suck at life or are failing at having “the best years of your life,” it just means the right person hasn’t come around. It means that you have some room to grow and learn more and more about yourself and have the opportunity to make selfish decisions before having to think about someone else first. Be selfish in this time of your life. Be you, do you, and don’t let the idea of being ‘alone forever’ or being a crazy cat lady keep you for achieving what you’re capable of.