Ask Abby, Lifestyle

Ask Abby (or Analise): A beginner’s guide to campus crushing

Dear Abby: I’m coming to college and am looking for love! Okay, I also want to get an education, but I am interested in diving into the dating pool. I just don’t want to drown. Do you have any tips on how to stay afloat?

Lila Baltaxe | Senior Graphic Artist

College campuses are filled with young adults looking for two things: an education and some action.

I mean, you can’t pack thousands of students into one tiny little campus and expect them to not want to pursue one another. One half of it is natural instinct, and the other half is that having a crush keeps things interesting!

But, I still think the college dating pool is a lot more nuanced and complex than the ones we find in high school. Mingling as a legal adult with a lot more freedom can be just as exciting as it is dangerous. 

Despite what the movies may show, there are a lot of dos and don’ts when it comes to college dating, and Ask Abby is here to give you her takes after semesters of observation and experience.

The frat basement is not where you are going to find the love of your life

The first night I moved into my freshman dorm, I did what all freshmen do –– test the waters of Allston by exploring the fraternity houses. In many ways, it’s a rite of passage, so I’m not trying to deter you entirely. What I’m saying is this: Use your brain! 

I’m sure there are some amazing fraternity brothers out there, but frats wouldn’t have their universal sloppy reputation for no reason.

All the rumors are true. The basements are grimy, it gets really hot when everyone is packed together like sardines and if you look to your left, you might just see two people making out. 

These parties are all in good fun, but they’re not exactly a hub for meaningful relationships. Unfortunately, the stereotypes are accurate. The hookups and makeouts that happen there are part of the party culture more than anything else. 

With that being said, I think it’s important to not feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to do, even if it is all for “fun and games.”

Also, always know your worth! I’ve seen some of my most intelligent and beautiful friends get hung up on a guy who barely respects their existence outside of the frat house. 

You have a personality and a profound sense of intellect. Don’t leave those behind at the basement door before you head in. 

Age gaps can be tricky

There’s a lot of overlap in college, perhaps more than you would find in high school, when it comes to ages. The youngest freshmen are about 18, while the oldest seniors are 22. Add graduate students to the mix and you’re looking at a 24+ dating pool.

I feel that there’s a perception in college that you don’t really need to ask anyone their age before pursuing them, because for the most part, we are all legal adults. 

The primary issue with age gaps is the disparity in maturity. Everyone makes fun of that one senior in high school dating the freshman because the mindset of a 15-year-old is extremely different from an 18-year-old about to graduate. 

In college, the boundaries are more fluid. It’s not uncommon for a sophomore to be dating a senior, or a junior to be dating a grad student. 

Why? Because of the similarities in maturity and mentality.

My biggest piece of advice is this: Don’t get taken advantage of and know what point of your life you are in. Be mindful of others’ intentions and how they interact with you.

Don’t count out the high school sweetheart, maybe

A lot of people go through a “pre-college breakup,” which is usually a pre-planned initiative to split before the start of the school year. This is commonly done in hopes of achieving the “full college experience,” which may include experimental hookups and other fun nights out. 

Personally, I think it is possible to remain with your high school sweetheart through college. In a sense, I get a bad feeling about the thought of breaking up just to explore your options.  Aren’t you supposed to love the person unconditionally? Plus, staying in touch is a breeze with the added advancements of technical communication. 

But, the reality is that a lot of people end up splitting up during the fall semester of their freshmen year. It’s not often for petty reasons, but rather because couples can begin to drift apart as they gain a greater sense of independence. It’s perfectly fine to be in different stages of life, because at the end of the day, you should never be entirely codependent on another person’s affection to thrive.

Where can you find the right person?

Now, for the age-old question: Where can you find that special someone? Everyone likes to say that there’s never any contenders within their own major, but they can’t all be lying! 

I’ve had friends who enjoy finding their lovers through apps, and I’ve had others who met their current significant other through a club they joined on campus. Both are good options for finding someone you might be compatible with.

In my experience, don’t count out the person sitting next to you in that random class you’re taking to fill a few HUB units. You probably have a lot more in common than you think with the strangers sitting beside you in some of your smaller classes.

Just try saying hi. Who knows what could become of it?

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