Healthful Hints: College romance: Navigating the highs and lows of the campus dating scene

Posted by Zoe Silver

Lust is the air as October graces us with its chilly presence and we become more accustomed to our new schedules and surroundings. Because our level of comfort at Skidmore is growing, some people will have more confidence in the dating arena.

For those of us who are new to college, dating here seems frightening and different from what it was in high school. We now have to navigate sticky situations like how to "sexile" our roommates, balance our workload and relationships and deal with potentially spending a few years in close proximity to an ex. Unlike before, we practically live with our significant others - a characteristic of college life that puts a lot of stress on such relationships and requires strong communication for success.

Moreover, many of us have to consider for the first time the difference between "hooking up" and "dating." Regardless of how much experience we have at Skidmore, this particular aspect of our lives never seems to be easy or flawless. We could all use some healthful hints to aide us in our dating endeavors.

While everything I said above may make college relationships sound frightening and impossible, they are obviously doable and, in many cases, really great. If you are able to be yourself, set boundaries and keep your friends close, you might even "put a ring on it!" When starting something with a significant other, though, it is important to remember that you are at college to learn, meet people and have awesome experiences.

A relationship will hinder your ability to do these things IF you do not openly communicate with your partner and, together, decide on a lifestyle and schedule that works best for both of you. More so, college is a time for exploring who YOU are, and if your relationship is healthy, it can be a great way to help you figure it out.

Some of us enter Skidmore already in a relationship, maybe from back home. Long distance relationships are notoriously difficult to maintain, but once again, totally possible and sometimes great if you put in the hard work that it takes. Remember to clarify your expectations with your significant other before the long-distance starts so that you will both be on the same page about when you can talk, when you can visit, if you are open or exclusive, etc. Also, integrating yourself into the Skidmore community eases your daily life. By doing so, you create a social network and system of support in case you need a shoulder to lean on.

For those of us who are not dating, there is an entire other culture out there: the "hookup" culture. This is new to some and commonplace to others. Whichever group you fall in, it can be a big part of college life, as I'm sure you've all seen and heard. Like I said above, college is a time for discovering who you are, what you're into and where to go from there. Some people don't want to limit themselves to the confounds of a relationship and, therefore, become involved with others casually instead.

If this is the path you take, all of the advice I stated above still applies. Set boundaries to ease communication between you and your partner so that you are both clear on what your relationship is. Communicate, communicate, communicate. It is so important to know who you are with. This is especially true if you are sexually active. Be safe and ask questions. Don't leave anything up to chance.

And remember that if your relationship or hookup doesn't work out, it's ok to take a while to bounce back and to center yourself. To ease your stress, try spending time with your friends, exercising and maintaining structure in your schedule so that you are kept busy and distracted. Most importantly, continue to believe in yourself. Don't allow this to change how you see yourself and don't put yourself down.

No matter what type of relationship we try out in college, it is highly likely that we will hit some rocky terrain along the drive. But if we keep our heads up and accept that it will take some trials and tribulations to get it right, we can take something positive from every relationship and use it to build our experiences, views of life and views of ourselves. Skidmore is full of interesting people who want to get to know other interesting people. Until next time, stay happy, stay healthy and go mingle!  

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