“Love” In The Time Of College


Growing up, I was surrounded by romantic comedies, dramatic Spanish romance soap operas, and books that told stories about “love.” My expectations were high because of them. During my high school years I searched for a chance to mimic and make those stories come to life. But it never happened to me and as I entered college I thought to myself that there was a higher chance of it happening there. I was wrong the chances are the same.

I came into my freshman year of college a naïve hopeless romantic and came out of it a realistic non-hopeless romantic that debunked cliché fictional romantic happenings.

Like I said, I have never been a formal relationship with a guy and I thought “hey, maybe I’ll meet someone in college” and silly me thought it would happen my first year. I heard my friends tell me over and over again “guys don’t want to have something serious until maybe their second or third year.” But hopeless romantic me didn’t lose hope. But slowly through the year, that felt like an eternity, I realized “love” in college rarely exists but two other phrases prominently do.

1. “Friends with Benefits”
Before coming to college I had only heard this phrase once, literally. I thought it was such a dumb and complicated concept but movies and real life happenings made me realize that it’s very common in college and somehow okay cause it’s a norm. A friend of mine became friends with benefits with a friend that she had known since the beginning of the year. It became a normal thing and I started hearing more stories of friend’s roommates having their “FWB” over. In conclusion, in college when a friend is thirsty there might just be another friend around to offer some Gatorade. Casual sex is a casual thing. Of course there could always be the risk of feelings getting involved, which could be awkward.

2. “Hooked Up”
This one is very similar to the previous but when I say “hooked up” I mean meeting someone one night and waking up to them the next morning with no repeat of said night. Traditionally it’s been called “one night stand” but I feel like now it’s just described as “hooked up.” I’ve heard this happen quite a few times when friends and peers mentioned how they have hooked up with so and so and now it’s really awkward to see them around campus. This defers from friends with benefits because there’s a chance you weren’t friends to begin with and you just met at a frat party and banged. It could also mean that you kept it PG-13 and made out. In conclusion, hormones can get out of control and cross the panty line.

From these two phrases I’ve learned that first of all everyone at this time of life is thirsty even if they don’t admit it. Everyone needs a good quench and will go to these measures to hydrate. Even though seeing these types of interactions has taken my hope and romantic sides away there are still observations that make me believe it won’t always be like that. I’ve read numerous articles on how the hookup culture is destroying the possibility of dating but if you step away from generalizing you see there are exceptions. People still are capable of creating meaningful relationships in college. I’ve seen it happen to people in just their first year and it wasn’t fictional like or cliché.

I wish it would have happened to me but it didn’t. Maybe it will happen this upcoming year or a few months before graduation. I don’t know. But I do know that “love” in the time of college is a floating ball of mystery that lands a few times. We are all trying to figure out what to do with our lives and with the freedom that has been give to us. Love is complicated and some might not know how to handle it, which leads to those two phrases. They’re not ready.

College can be a lonely place and we’re just looking for company. “Love” in the time of college is confusing and messy until the floating ball comes and lands on us. Until that happens you might find yourself in bed with someone knowing that to them it just stays at sex or making out with a random person. But remember that it is also good to take the dive and go on an actual date once in a while; the floating ball might just land.

featured image – Nishat Nguyen