Of course, you want to fall in love, but have an exit strategy
Socializing is every college student’s inalienable right. Most young people go to college with the expectation of meeting new people, attending fun events, making friends, and dating.
Without the social aspect, there would be every reason just to take college courses on line.
But do you want or need a serious romance while you are in college? A lot depends on what your plans are post college.
Will you go to work straight out of college?
Some students go to college with the intention to earn a Bachelor’s degree, get a job, settle down, and start a family. And they see themselves doing all these things while they are still in their twenties.
If that sounds like you, then it does make sense to date seriously while in college and with an eye to finding your future spouse. College provides the best pool of single young people that you will ever have access to. If you plan to marry young, then, yes, it makes sense to look for your wife or husband on campus.
What if college is just the first four years of your education?
If you are pre-med, pre-law, or planning to get a graduate degree, then your undergraduate years might not be the best time to form a serious relationship.
While it is true that some couples arrange for the wife or husband to support them while the other spouse attends med school or law school, this is not an ideal situation. It may put an intolerable strain on the marriage and end in divorce.
Young women sometimes get around this problem by marrying an established man a few years older. If he is already financially well off, then supporting her through graduate school makes sense for them as a couple.
Except for convention, there is no good reason why recently graduated men should not do the same thing.
Will you flunk out of college if you spend too much time with your boyfriend or girlfriend?
The short answer to the above questions is: Yes, maybe. There is, of course, a courtship period in any successful relationship. And you have to commit some time to getting to a point of security and clarity in any serious alliance.
But couples who are going to make it to graduation need to lay down some ground rules. You need to give each other time to study and make good grades. This may involve setting aside hours to study together at the library or in one of your dormitory rooms or apartments.
College couples should also carefully select which social events they will attend. Try to organize quality events for yourselves that will help you succeed in life as a couple. For example, it makes sense to miss the keg parties and, instead, go to interesting lectures when the speaker is an out of town expert in his field.
Go to graduate school fairs together and attend events that will help the two of you in your careers or in starting up a business. Stay safe by attending events that use the KVA Plan to keep attendees at low risk. If you, as a couple, decide to organize a get together, organize your event with the KVA Plan as a way to keep yourselves and others safe.
Should you date someone back home?
Invariably, some college students arrive on campus with emotional and romantic attachments in their hometown. While loyalty is a wonderful quality, you should be aware that the chance that your long-distance relationship will survive four years in college is about as strong as the chances of a two-toed sloth killing and eating a lion.
College is going to provide you with too many new distractions. And many of those distractions will be beautiful young people your age who find you interesting. You will have things to talk about because you are taking the same classes, attending the same events, like movie night,, and enduring the same dormitory conditions. Most college students feel a more immediate connection to these fellow students than they do to anyone else including their parents.
That’s why the boyfriend or girlfriend back home may quickly come to seem like a distant stranger.
I’m not saying you should break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend before going to college. However, the truth is that to do anything else is probably just postponing the inevitable.
So, you may be asking, what does this have to do with my grades? The answer is clear: maintaining a long-distance relationship will take time away from classes and studies, especially if you insist on seeing each other more than once during the semester.
Depending on the time it takes you to travel back to your hometown, scheduling time to be with your off-campus significant other could take a huge chunk out of time that should be spent attending classes and at least glancing at the books.
Consider the example of one good student. At least he was a good student until he started dating someone a five hour drive away from campus. Suddenly, he was AWOL from class, not turning in assignments, and being generally clueless about what was expected from him. Around the time when it was really too late to repair the damage to his grade, he showed up in his professor’s office and explained that he had been away because of the girlfriend in Atlanta.
You need to understand that, to most professors, the line “I needed time to spend with my girlfriend/boyfriend” sounds really lame. There might be a few exceptions, but most professors are going to think that’s about as good an excuse as needing to throw a frisbee with your dog instead of coming to class.
So, if you must maintain a relationship with someone back home, be sure that the two of you sit down and establish some firm guidelines about how often you will see each other and how you will stay in touch.
Agree to limit nightly phone calls or Skype sessions to twenty minutes. Agree that two weekend visits and Thanksgiving break will just have to be enough to get you to Christmas break. Obviously, this is more likely to work if both of you are going to college and staying really busy.
To conclude, If you do not arrive at college with relationship baggage that will divide your attention and send you packing for the weekends, for goodness sake, do not fall in love with somebody off campus after you start college.