It’s universally realized that college is a world of its own. Fledgling young adults are thrown into an atmosphere where eating pizza for every meal is socially acceptable, going to bed before midnight is abnormal, and skipping class because “my bed is just so much more inviting!” is a common plight. Academia suddenly becomes a trillion times more difficult and distractions increase exponentially, but, in my own humble opinion, the largest difference between then and now is dating.
In high school (and middle school, for the early bloomers), dating had a set formula:
Step 1: Meet attractive person in class or through mutual friends.
Step 2: Discuss vehemently with friends the pros and cons of dating aforementioned attractive person.
Step 3: Change Facebook relationship status to reflect new state of affairs if mutual attraction is established.
Step 4: Feel relieved that finding a date to dances is no longer an issue.
Step 5: Realize that staying together forever with someone you met at age 15 is ridiculous and break up.
Step 6: Repeat.
Dating in high school was faux-serious, and our parents chuckled to themselves over our unrealized naivete. However, college relations with the opposite gender are a whole new undiscovered realm with two main thought processes.
The first involves meeting your soul mate at orientation, immediately dating, announcing your happy engagement to the world, and making all your single friends feel even more pathetic about their dismal love lives.
The second mindset, however, and the one more likely followed by college students, involves casually going out with members of the opposite gender and racking up funny stories as a result of some actions performed at a fraternity house.
Courtships similar to those from "Gone with the Wind" or "The Notebook" are basically as common as students absolutely loving their 8 a.m. lectures. There’s a constant struggle between rejoicing in our carefree no-strings-attached stage of life and the fact that previous generations deem our current age marriageable. (What most 20-year-olds view as a horrendously suffocating proposition). We realize the relationships we enter into now have the potential to become something actually serious, and that’s scary.
I wish I could end this with a tidbit of advice about college dating, but, alas, I’m just as lost as the next person. All I can say is thank goodness the agony (and hilarity) of picking out a prom date are behind me.
Carmen Siew of Crown Point is a sophomore at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in Bloomington. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.