It was August 20th at 2 a.m. and I was heading for the Adirondacks in less than 24 hours. I was out with my boyfriend in his car, and I didn’t know what to say. As the time before move in day grew shorter, I had one persistent question on my mind: “What’s going to happen to us in college?”
We were going to be in two totally different worlds. Me at Kalamazoo College, him at Michigan State. We’d be meeting new people, discovering new things, and becoming ourselves. We had no idea what was going to happen to us in the months to come.
Everything in our lives was about to drastically change. Now we’d have adult things to worry about, like laundry and bills. We’d have our classes, clubs, and sports to focus on. We’d be living with a bunch of people we’d never met before, and we’d have the opportunity to get to know them all in four years.
We’d be completely out of our comfort zones and wouldn’t return home as the same people.
With all the stress and changes going on, how was a relationship going to fit in? Not very well. I told my boyfriend I needed some space.
This way, I won’t have to worry about someone who is somewhere else. I can focus on my schoolwork and my clubs. I’m free to talk with whomever I wish and not worry about someone getting jealous. I don’t have to be restrained by a relationship while I’m trying to transition into a new life.
There are some people who’ve made it work out before, but it’s a very difficult feat. I have a lot of respect for those people.
Then there are others I’ve met on campus who’ve told me about their partners, and how they are trying to make it work long distance. The funny thing is, after orientation week, I couldn’t tell you how many of them ended up hooking up with some person they just met.
Even though it sounds selfish, a college student’s first-year should be spent focusing on personal growth. Figuring out who they are, and what they want to do with their lives.
I can meet other people and be myself, instead of constantly worrying about having a significant other. And once I’ve figured it all out, then I’m totally open to a relationship. But I think some independence in the first few weeks, months, and even year, is important.
We need some space to discover ourselves first. Being in a relationship constrains that space.