Embrace being single

Relationships aren’t the end-all-be-all for the college experience

Ashley Pelletier, Arts & Life Editor

Connor Lawless

I’ve given up on waiting for the perfect college relationship to happen to me.

As an avid fiction reader, I’ve had this idea stuck in my head about how college is the perfect time and place to meet the person who I’ll spend the rest of my life with. We would lock eyes across the room at a party, meet in the line at Starbucks or be paired together on a class project.

However, between COVID-19 killing the party mood, Transact mobile ordering and my misfortune in getting assigned class partners, I’ve felt like I’m missing out on a big part of the college experience: romantic relationships.

As someone who hasn’t dated since high school, the idea of dating in college is daunting. From dating apps like Tinder and Bumble to hookup culture, I just couldn’t keep pace. I’d end up ghosting someone before the first date or the conversations about our hobbies would fizzle out.

According to a survey released in 2012, just over 60% of college students have gone on a date while in school. As a member of the remaining 40%, I understand that I’m not alone in the single experience by any means, but it still feels lonely.

So, I’ve decided that I’ve had enough of trying to find a relationship. That isn’t to say if I find the right person I’m not going to show interest, but I don’t think it’s productive for me to put so much energy into an unsuccessful endeavor.

This surrender has led me to think about what I’ve learned from being single throughout my college experience.

The most important lesson I’ve learned is how to be alone. Outside of classes and working with the editorial board of The Chronicle, a majority of my time is spent alone, including Friday nights watching Netflix, writing and meal times. Sure, I hang out with my roommates and other friends at times, but my most constant companion is myself.

The pseudo-isolation of being single is something that I struggle with on occasion, but I’m not really alone. I FaceTime my mom every day, I send TikToks to my best friend and I go to Student Programming Board events on the weekends.

I also find that I am happier now than I have been in past

relationships. I would do things that would make my partner happy without regard for how it made me feel. Now, I feel like I can do what I want when I want.

A study done in 2008 found that our society thinks that single people are less happy than those in romantic relationships. That isn’t necessarily true. Many of the sources of my unhappiness — COVID-19, the struggle of finding a parking spot in North Lot, the lack of mashed potatoes served by QU Dining — are all issues that would be present in my life regardless of whether or not I had someone to snuggle with besides my frog Squishmallow.

If anything can be learned from my experiences, it’s that relationships aren’t everything. Our worth is not defined by others showing romantic interest in us.

Here is some advice if you struggle with your singleness in college:

Find a new hobby or rediscover a love for an old pastime. Fill your time with learning about your interest and enjoy your time doing it. For me, that thing is reading. I have read over 40 books so far this year, which helps pass the time and also enriches my mind.

Emotionally invest in your friends. While society places more value on romantic relationships, platonic ones are just as important. Invite your friends out to dinner or spend a night watching your favorite movies and eating nachos.

Learn how to take care of yourself. College is the first time many of us are living unsupervised. There is no adult figure to do your laundry or clean up after you. Learning how to do chores in the proper way ensures that future partners or roommates will not be forced to clean up after you.

Teach yourself how to cook. Again, it is important that anyone be able to cook simple meals for themselves. You can’t live off of takeout or a meal plan forever, it’s not feasible.

Go to therapy. Being single is the perfect opportunity to work through any mental health problems or underlying issues that you may have. It is better to work on yourself rather than using another person to fix your problems for you.

Have fun. College is a time of learning and hard work, but it is also the time to go out and live for the very first time. Don’t spend all your time wondering about what your life would be like in a relationship, find out what your life is by exploring the world around you.

Anyone, regardless of relationship status, should work on themselves and make themselves the best person they can be, whether that be for a partner or just for personal satisfaction.