Jonathan Barron is a recent graduate from Whittier College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minor in Film Studies. While writing and film production is his first passion, broadcasting music at his campus radio station and going to concerts is a close second. During his free time, he enjoys traveling, playing video games, spending time with his loving girlfriend and writing music. His long term goal is to acquire his Master’s Degree and pursue screenwriting as a career.
My parents always warned me, “No girls until after college!” Whether or not they were joking, I can assure you it didn’t stop me. Parents can’t stress enough the importance of a good education and often warn us about the distractions of being in a relationship. However, while it’s also important to keep up with academics, maintaining a healthy relationship throughout college can be a rewarding and often satisfying experience that can teach us a lot about ourselves.
Having someone meaningful to look to for moral support or just for a warm embrace in the morning is all it could take to help get through a long day of class. Moreover, there are many benefits of dating during college alongside having intellectual and meaningful conversations with one another. For instance, having someone to stay up and keep you motivated through all-nighters, or having a personal editor to read all your papers no matter how bad your grammar is, or best of all simply someone to talk to after a stressful day of finals. Whatever the advantages may be, a relationship during college won’t only test your maturity but could ultimately prepare you for life beyond the classroom walls.
Aside from the benefits of being in a committed relationship during college, there may also be some downsides you should be aware of. For example, a girlfriend who convinces you to neglect your responsibilities and blow off class with her may not be looking out for your best interest and may only bring you down with her. Similarly, a boyfriend who doesn’t support or respect your desire to explore all the opportunities your school has to offer you can raise another major red flag. These are both signs of toxic relationships that will not only affect your dating experience in college, but worst of all jeopardize your full potential to succeed.
There’s no doubt that trying to make a relationship succeed in college is hard work, on top of the load of assignments, projects and responsibilities you may already have on your plate, but the upside is the gratifying feeling that you tried. The reality is that college is the best place to make mistakes and discover what you want out of a relationship, what kind of people you want to date or if you really want a serious relationship. The main thing is that dating can help you learn a lot about yourself but also improve your relationship skills with others.
A key factor in dating, whether or not in college, is having a mutual understanding of each other’s goals in life. If one person is pursuing a degree while the other is not, there may be a false sense of priority or lack of understanding of the time, hard work and commitment required of the person in school. Therefore, being straightforward and discussing your goals (short term and long term) early on in a relationship can save you endless nights of fighting and avoidable heartbreak in the future.
If there’s anything that dating has taught me over the years in college is learning how to balance my life. Too much of anything is bad; too much studying, too much partying or way too much homework. Unquestionably, the primary reason for attending college is to gain a better education and become successful, but finding that special someone to endure it with makes the experience all the more memorable.
There will always be highs and lows in school, especially during a relationship, but what you learn by dealing with these challenges is what you’ll take with you after graduation. Remember, being in a healthy and happy relationship during school isn’t impossible, and can even enrich your overall college experience. However, balance, and oftentimes sacrifice, is what it takes to make it work, although a little effort and a lot of patience doesn’t hurt either. And at the end of the day, it will all be worth it when you both cross the stage, diploma in hand and look at each other and finally say, “We did it.”