Is University the Right Time to Date?

For some, university is a time for personal, self-exploration. This might mean joining clubs, studying new subjects, and hookups. For others, these years can serve as the perfect time to find a like-minded partner for life. But is university really the right time to date? Label shares a personal conclusion of a much debated subject.

I wasn’t popular with the boys in high school. I’d never been on a date; in fact, I’d never even been kissed. Yet, the media told me that I wasn’t supposed to worry. Once I got to university there would be too many boys for me to keep track of. I’d have a date every week; I’d hook up with guys randomly on nights out; and, eventually, I’d meet the person I was supposed to marry in some ideal rom-com scenario. (At least, that’s what happened for my mother and father.)

Yet now that I’m at university, my perspective has changed quite a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on a few dates, kissed a few boys, and met a lot of interesting people. However, it’s nothing like I had been conditioned to expect - and I’m actually okay with that. I’m not out with a different guy every week, and I’ve experienced rejection and unreciprocated interest more often than not. However, I honestly don’t think that it’s time to be finding your forever partner. I know that at the end of my fourth year I’ll be moving to a different country to pursue postgraduate work, and after that, who knows? I have a very specific set of goals and ambitions laid out for myself, and, unfortunately, I don’t know how I could possibly fit a significant other into my carefully designed plans.

Of course, that’s not to say people can’t find happy and fulfilling relationships whilst here. Off the top of my head, I can list five or six couples who I think will be together forever. In fact, one of the couples I’m friends with have already begun discussing their wedding! Yet, all these couples have had to sit down and discuss their post-graduate intentions. They’ve had to compromise, and come to a mutual agreement to alter their lives to accommodate the other. Understandably, their partner is more important to them than a job, or a postgraduate placement. Yet, to me, I don’t think I’ve yet attained that level of maturity to be able to change my imagined pathway for another person. Call me selfish, but I know where I want to be in five years, and I cannot imagine deviating.

Another caveat I should mention is that I am actually very traditional, and do hope to one day get married and settle down. The point I am trying to make is that maybe university isn’t the right time to be dating and searching for your other half. In St. Andrews, we’re still very much in a ‘bubble’, and have by no means had true experience in the real world. I have no idea what kind of people I’m going to have the opportunity to meet in the future; I have no idea where I’ll be living and working in ten years. And, at the moment, I think it’s important for me to focus on my studies and ambitions rather than a relationship. I could very well be proved wrong - I might walk out of my house tomorrow and run into the love of my life. Yet, as I write this, I am fully convinced that university is not the right time to date.