It’s pretty common to be single in college. Across the country, in colleges and universities, there is a 57/43 female to male ratio. Women should be proud that we have surpassed men in gaining the upper hand in higher education. But it can often feel like there are NO guys on campus to meet, or even be friends with. So how does a college girl find happiness in being single?
Julia Bourland, author of The Go-Girl Guide: Surviving Your 20s with Savvy, Soul, and Style explains, “there are fierce desires to find a mate...But dating in the 20s is more complicated than ever.” Your 20s are a time of transition, which can be made easier by going through them yourself. There’s no need to add to the stress you already have in your life by trying to find a guy!
Being a single girl myself, I had to stop and think about what I like most about my status. A friend, and fellow single girl from JMU, Annie, says she finds happiness in not having to shave her legs constantly or worry about finding an anniversary gift. But then, more importantly, most of our friends are single too, which makes outings and sharing feelings and frustrations more enjoyable.
Another great thing about being unattached is that life is what you make it. “I think the best part about being single in college is that the possibilities are endless. You never know what is going to happen or whom you are going to meet. Although being in relationship can be great, it can also be predictable. When you’re single, you never know what will happen next!” shared Kathleen Bogle, Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice at La Salle University and author of Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.
Sometimes it can be hard to get past a feeling of loneliness or jealousy at those disgustingly cute couples walking around campus, but let’s further consider why being unattached is fabulous!
Top 5 reasons to love being single:
1. There’s no “checking-in” -- Kathleen Corlett from Syracuse University attests: “I can think of several reasons to love being single! At the top of the list, you never have to worry about ‘checking in’ or running plans by a significant other.”
When you are single, the only person you have to report to is yourself (and occasionally your parents so they know you are alive). And with texting becoming such a dominant form of communication, it’s easy for couples to check up on each other throughout the day, but this gets annoying fast. Why not be able to go on a friend date or use the bathroom without telling your significant other!?
Being single, we can go where we want, do what we want, and not have to tell anyone. It’s enjoyable to get in your car and just go somewhere YOU want to be, whether it is a movie, the mall, or a trip to visit friends. I often get tired of texting my friends or family, so this first reason is one of my favorites. Being single I can turn off my cell phone and “disappear” for a couple of hours and not have to deal with a clingy boy.
2. Guilt trips are nonexistent-- There is never a need to feel guilty (or even think twice!) when flirting with the cute guy at Starbucks. You can feel free to flirt with guy friends, waiters, guys in class, or hall-mates! Also, girls are harsh on other girls who are in relationships but keep up their flirty ways.
“I had two good friends freshman year, one was in a relationship and the other wasn’t. Well they were both very flirty with the guys in our dorm and when my single friend did it, I wasn’t bothered at all, that’s one of the perks of being single, you are able to flirt away! But when you have a boyfriend don’t throw yourself on other guys, it’s unattractive!” says Alison Reid, a junior at James Madison University.
So there you are ladies, you can work it when you are single and flirt without the guilt trip catching up with you later. Go ahead—embrace your right to flirt!
3. Strengthening friendships -- One of my biggest pet peeves is getting ditched by my friends who acquire BFs. I was good enough for them when they were single but suddenly they have no time for me once they change their Facebook status to “In a relationship.” Being single, you can focus on strengthening your friendships with your girlfriends. You have all the time in the world to have girls’ nights and watch chick flicks. Instead of focusing your time on boys, you can focus on others who are close to you, and let them influence you as a person.
One James Madison University student, Lara Schubert, says: “When I was in a relationship I felt like I missed out on a lot of things with my girlfriends. And now that I’m single I have been able to repair my friendships and meet a lot of new people. I have so much more time to hang out and just be me. There is no obligation to hang out with a BF! Also, I am able to have guy friends again. I know a lot of guys don’t like their girlfriends hanging out with other guys, which is lame. I love being single and having my friends around me!”
This is the perfect time to throw in a quote from Sex and the City: “Being single used to mean that nobody wanted you. Now it means you’re pretty sexy and you’re taking your time deciding how you want your life to be and who you want to spend it with.” I couldn’t agree more with Carrie Bradshaw!
4. You don’t have to dress up (for him) -- As women we go through a lot to be considered attractive and well-manicured. We are waxed, shaved, tweezed, polished, toned, tanned, our hair and nails are done, and we have to have just the right outfit on. Now let’s think about it, who are we doing all of this for: a guy or ourselves? We are young, beautiful, and single. So put down that blush brush and go run errands with a makeup-free face. Put on your favorite t-shirt or skip shaving your legs one morning and you will exude an air of confidence because you will feel confident within.
Macy Lenox, a student at James Madison University, says: “It’s great to wear what I want and just be who I am. I don’t have to put on a façade... I can be the real me, and work it in my own way. It’s invigorating to wear jeans and a t-shirt, wash my face, brush my teeth and run out the door... there’s no one you need to impress except yourself!”
5. Learn about yourself -- Abby Frank from Longwood University says:
“I really just enjoy being able to learn how I enjoy things without worrying about someone else’s feelings at the same time. I’m 20 and in my prime to learn how to travel and be on my own. I just feel like being attached to someone else would give me tunnel vision, instead of really being able to make decisions based on what I truly want for myself. And don’t get me wrong, I love getting kisses on the nose, and cute text messages, and hugs, but what I love even more is being able to focus on my own mental health. In the time that I’ve been single I’ve really learned to love myself as a person and be able to comfort myself without wallowing in my own loneliness.”
Gale Crandell, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist shared with me, “We often associate the ego with selfishness but this isn’t always the case. Gaining ego strength is developing who you are as a person. And as you take the time to do that, and postpone relationships, you can find what you need and want, which will lead to successful relationships in the future.”
Learning to be on your own and love yourself can be tricky. We too easily believe in the classic fairytale that our Prince Charming will find us and sweep us off our feet if we only wait long enough. Even if you do want to meet someone eventually, being happy on your own is still an important skill!
Most of us don’t go to college to find a boy but to earn a degree (unless you are trying to get your MRS degree). We get caught up in the cycle of hooking up with and “talking” to guys, but has this led us to true happiness as college women?
Keep your attitude positive and life will lead you to love, either with yourself, in your friends, or with a significant other. And if you need a little encouragement, turn on Jason Derulo’s “Ridin’ Solo.”
Washington Post, College gender gap stabilizing
Julia Bourland, The Go-Girl Guide: Surviving Your 20s with Savvy, Soul, and Style
Annie, James Madison University 2012
Kathleen Bogle, Professor of Sociology and Criminal justice at La Salle University and author of Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.
Kathleen Corlett, Syracuse University 2011 and Her Campus writer
Alison Reid, James Madison University 2012
Lara Schubert, James Madison University 2012
Macy Lenox, James Madison University 2012
Abby Frank, Longwood University 2012
Gale Crandell, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist