Dating should not be a priority in college

By Kendra Rhodes, Contributing Writer

For many years, college has had the reputation of being the place where young adult women go to find husbands. However, with independence typically exercised in college, it is not an optimal time to focus on a relationship. Instead, it is a time where a lot of personal growth and development can be found.

When relationships are prioritized over personal growth, goals are sidelined and the overall success of the student suffers. Placing precedence on education and friendships instead leads to a better college experience.

Being single in college is an ideal scenario to learn how to be independent and self-sustaining. Because of social norms carried around from past generations, women sometimes feel pressured to always be attached to a man. They often feel the stigmatism that they are useless without one. When, on the contrary, being single has a lot of positives.

The notoriously broke college student can save money when they don’t have anyone else to spend money on. Being single also usually leads to making and holding more friendships because jealousy of a significant other can pressure people into isolating themselves.

Nico Lang wrote an article identifying several surprising dating statistics. Lang explains how “singledom is inertia.” By this he means people find motivation to be productive, whether it is with their education or personal goals, when they don’t have another person to focus on.

West Liberty junior, Amber Millard, said, “Whenever I’m single, I have a lot more me time and I like that.”

Mental stress and anxiety takes away a lot of focus off things.  A functioning relationship takes time and effort. Time and effort are two scarce resources college students have. Balancing these limited resources is not an easy task. Relationships often tend to take away time and effort from other more important priorities such as a job or studying. The stresses of a college relationship can ruin what should be a fun and memorable experience.

College is a time when young adults discover their true passions and direction for their lives. Prioritizing relationships while in college can misconstrue perceptions of an individual’s future and obscures goals.

Students can feel pressured to make future decisions based on their significant other rather than their own interests. A study done at Washington University found that a spouse’s personality can influence career success and how someone acts in the workplace. Although this study was done on married couples and not college students, it still identifies the effects relationships play on the psyche.

Girls and guys dedicate a lot of time to chasing a member of the opposite sex with the idea that it will bring happiness and fulfillment. They fail to realize happiness is a state of being, not a person or place. Hormones and human nature play a factor, of course. The biological need for happiness and sexual gratification are two large driving forces behind the prioritization of relationships, but students need to realize these are wants and not needs.

“Even though sometimes it would be nice to have a boyfriend,” Millard said, “I’ve realized I don’t need one at all. If I’m lonely, I call a friend. They’re way less complicated in the long run.”

College students should let go of their expectations for a relationship while in college to optimize their personal successes and growth. Even when the opportunity for a happy and healthy relationship presents itself, careful consideration should be given to minimize the positive aspects of single life that will be lost. Mindful re-evaluation of a current relationship could be a good idea if you feel like your personal freedoms and focus have been shifted.

Photo provided by Kendra Rhodes