29 March 2019
During orientation, a representative of the University of San Francisco told us how she
met her husband– in her first week of college. This became an inside joke between my roomates
and me, every cute boy we saw could be a potential husband. Through our first year of college
we have each had very different experiences, especially as romance is concerned. For the sake of
my roommates’ privacy, their names in this essay are Erin and Zoe. Erin hasn’t had much
romantic experience, Zoe has been in a committed long distance relationship, and I have been
exploring. Society expects a “college girl” to act a certain way, back in the day women in college
were seen as husband chasers and today it’s all about sexual liberation in the form of hookups.
College is a time for us to find ourselves and figure out our own future. Fulfillment can be found
in many ways; it’s ok for each young woman to navigate college romance however works for
One way form of navigating is not having a love-life. Erin has never had a boyfriend,
never been on a second date, never even had sex. These days a virgin in college is a pretty rare
sight. With the sexual liberation women have gained and the technology available, having sex as
a pretty and nice young woman isn’t very hard. Why doesn’t she make a Tinder or put herself
out there? Erin is taking a very heavy course load and works almost 40 hours a week. She is
burnt out most of her waking hours and barely has time to care for herself, let alone a boy.
Others who share this attitude toward sex avoid it because of “pressure to succeed, social lives
increasingly conducted on-screen, unrealistic expectations of physical perfection encouraged by
dating apps and wariness over rape” (Bahrampour). Erin does not find sex and boys to be a
valuable use of time. Erin’s aversion to pursuing boys is “not anything about chastity or fear of
sex… ‘Eh, it’ll happen,’” (Bahrampour). She isn’t saving herself for marriage or anything, she
just hasn’t come across the right person, right circumstances, right mood. Some may see her as a
prude, a girl who won’t ‘put out’ because she’s no fun, but she is showing herself love by
prioritizing her personal future. Sometimes she feels as if she’s missing out but getting straight
A’s, hitting the gym four times a week, and making about $500 a week seems to me like she’s
got her life in order. She doesn’t need a relationship to feel whole, she’s already got that down.
Although her life does not fit many fantasies of romantic love, by focusing on making herself
happy she’s practicing self love, and that’s perfectly ok because she is happy.
For others, having a serious, committed relationship is a source of strength. As for my
other roommate Zoe, she has been with her long distance boyfriend since 8th grade. They see
each other maybe twice a month if they find the time to travel the four hours in between them.
Just like Erin, Zoe has a lot on her plate. She’s a nursing student, so her schoolwork is a very big
priority/time consumer in her life, in addition to that she’s in a sorority which takes up most of
her free time. Other than weekends here and there when one visits another, facetime and texting
is how they communicate. I can’t imagine maintaining a healthy relationship that barely has
in-person contact, but since “75% of college students have been in a long distance relationship at
one time or another,” maybe I just don’t get it yet (Piazza). Bela Gandhi says in this article that
she sees “so many people that just go through the motions of a long-distance [relationship] and
fritter away their college years,” if they have no end-goal in sight and are staying in the
relationship for the sake of not being alone (Piazza). For a cynic like me it’s easy to believe that
people in relationships that far away, or this young are just fooling themselves, but I’ve seen
firsthand how these two have stayed in love and committed– after all, they love each other
enough to make it work. For Zoe, this is what makes her happy, so whatever she chooses to do is
My romantic journey through college so far has taught me a lot. I went into it untethered,
as my ex was back home along with my summer fling. I downloaded Tinder and went on a few
dates, eventually having some casual “relationships”– if they must be called that. School took a
backseat as I went to parties, and hung out with boys most nights of the week, remaining “never
more than semiaffiliated” (Narin). Some stuck around longer than others, but all seemed to be
scared of giving me the wrong idea, each clearly wasn’t ‘ready for a relationship right now.’ This
line I have been fed more times than I’d like to admit, and maybe it’s true maybe they all didn’t
want to date or at least didn’t want to date me. But, why was I seeing them, why did I spend all
this time focused on how to make them like me or make myself girlfriend material? They existed
in “some netherworld between friend and boyfriend,” and to me that was just a reflection of
myself not being good enough (Narin). Each rejection was hard to process since they didn’t owe
me anything, and my own narcissism left me wondering how a person I didn’t even like that
much would “dump” me. But since leaving Tinder hookups behind me and putting myself
(especially my education) first, I have finally started to show myself some love. It’s easy to look
at what I’ve been through and judge, but if there ever was a time to experiment, college is it. I
needed to have some fumbles here and there, because now I know what I want and how I want to
be treated. All the missteps were necessary for me to learn and get to a place of self love, it’s ok
that I put myself out there and failed, that’s what college is for.
Although we each have different romantic situations, we each found what works for us.
In college one needs to figure out how to prioritize things, and the right way to live can take
many different forms. It’s not all perfect as a young woman, not fitting any preconceived
“college girl” look, attitude, or behavior is valid. Whether you’re inexperienced, in a long
distance relationship, or looking for love in all the wrong places, there’s happiness at the end.
You may or may not find your husband in college, but you will find yourself.
Bahrampour, Tara. 'There Isn't Really Anything Magical about It': Why More Millennials Are
Avoiding Sex. 2 Aug. 2016,
Narin, Jordana No Labels, No Drama, Right? 30 Apr. 2015,
Piazza, Jo How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work, According to Experts 19 Jun. 2018,