Haste makes waste (in love)

Toga! Toga! Toga! Even if you haven’t seen Animal House, odds are that you are aware of the image of college it presents; the sex and alcohol-fueled existence that would make Caligula blush.

For many young freshmen, this idea of college is like a titillating mirage – alluring but not necessarily real. However, one undeniable aspect of university is the prevalence of romantic relationships, and the fact that many people going into college are craving them. Whether for the personal validation, the expectation that relationships are what you do in college or because they’ve never been in a relationship before, many people come to college with the goal of finding a person to date.

With that in mind, one of the most valuable pieces of advice that not enough of my peers heard was this: don’t try to rush into a relationship, especially if you are a freshman. Instead, get comfortable being yourself and let things develop when they come along.

There are many reasons not to rush into the dating world, especially as freshman. It is important to note that I am not saying not to date, far from it! Romance is wonderful. Rather, I am saying let things develop organically and don’t set out trying to force a hot college love.  Although if you are hell-bent on hot college love, I’m sure you can find several websites to tide you over.

As a freshman, especially one who is new to a city, college can be very overwhelming. Coupled with the relief or anxiety of finally not having to live with your parents, going a bit crazy with the new-found freedom is a perfectly normal reaction. This catharsis is great – I did it myself – but it’s also very stressful at times, as taking care of yourself is more work than you initially realize. As such, freshman year should largely be about finding out who you are and discovering how to function as a quasi-independent semi-adult. That takes a shocking amount of work.

In addition to all of the fun self-actualization and “growing as a human being” parts of starting college, there is the sheer amount of classwork involved. According to the University of Buffalo, the average high school student spends approximately 35-40 hours a week on class and homework, whereas the average college student spends roughly 45 hours a week, minimum.  Meanwhile, engineering students spend an average of 170 hours per week, excluding finals and project deadlines.  May God have mercy on your souls.  

Not only is there more work in college, it’s harder than high school work (if it isn’t at the moment, it will get there, and if it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong). Trying to deal with all of your assignments while also trying to make new friends and adjust to living away from your family takes a lot of time. Successful relationships are themselves very time-consuming, and trying to rush into them, especially when your docket is already so full, is a poor decision that will negatively impact everything.    

As somebody who has had some serious relationships, I can say with certainty that trying to rush anything in the relationship is a bad idea, and trying to rush the relationship itself is a horrible idea. It attempts to build something on a weak foundation. It’s like being the king in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail, who is surprised when the castles he builds in the swamp sink.

Relationships are like castles. They can be impressive, grand, safe and strong, and if you build them on soft ground, they have a tendency to disintegrate in a spectacular manner that leaves everybody involved frustrated at the waste of time and resources. This applies to everybody, not just new college students.

Lastly, and this is a general note not directed at freshman alone, trying to force relationships is frankly kind of pathetic. Desperation is intensely unattractive, whereas confidence is mega-sexy. Instead of focusing on getting a date, focus on being the best type of person to date; a confident individual who is secure and happy with themselves. Remember, take things as they come and date someone you are attracted to, not just who’s available.

Wishing you daily sexual fulfillment, even if it’s all by yourself.