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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Sexcapades: Breaking up and making up, Brandeis style

Published: August 27, 2010
Section: Opinions

It’s the first week of your first year, welcome! If you’re anything like I was, you’re scared witless about making friends, getting along with the roommates in your forced triple, finding your classes, eating the food … and the opposite sex in general. During orientation, you probably looked around to see if there was anyone cute, and asked your Orientation Leader about parties, frats and if people really go to Student Sexuality Information Services. Maybe you went to a party, even though you weren’t supposed to; I certainly did when I was a first-year. And so now classes have started, and it’s almost the long weekend, and the question is: Is it better to go through college single or hitched up?

Some people will jump on me for this. After all, it’s not always a choice. You might get here, meet someone and pine after them for four years with little or no result or you might get here and marry the first person you meet. However, it’s certainly a question that deserves some consideration, and one that will garner different answers from different people.

As an incoming first-year, I planned to start the year off single, despite having dated someone from home for about three months. A junior at another school, he agreed with me: I deserved the full college experience, and that meant starting my first-year year off, well, fresh. Orientation hadn’t even ended before I decided that pursuing our budding relationship was more important to me than potentially meeting a Brandeis guy.

But, most people I know who began college in relationships were single within a couple of months. This is not to say all relationships end–a close friend of mine is still dating the same guy she was dating in 10th grade–but most do. The factors of location, maturity and making new friends all change the dynamic in a relationship when it’s carried over from high school into college.

Additionally, when I look back, if I had been single that first semester, I would have made more friends, sooner, and I would have had an easier time hanging out with the guys that I later tried to do something with. None of these things are necessarily preferable (I didn’t really figure out what I wanted from a guy, or my friends, until I was a junior), but it is something I think about.

College is about having experiences, meeting people and making choices. By senior year, of course it’s easy to look back and say, “I should have done that differently,” but in the moment, you don’t know. You can’t know. In sex and relationships, you can never know for sure. And you have to give things a chance, just in case.

Of course, there are benefits to being single–when my ex surprises me by flying out from Colorado, he doesn’t have to sleep on the couch, and if my best friend and I stay up until 5 a.m. talking, I can crash at his place without worrying about what my boyfriend would think.

But maybe these perks of single-dom are exactly WHY I’m single.

Any new guy in my life might think of my best friend or my litany of exes as something to contend with or worry about, without realising that the people in my life would rather see me happily hooked up than be able to visit me.

The choices you make about sex and relationships in college should be the ones that make you happy.

Even if your roommate, or your friends, think you’re making the wrong choices, it’s up to you to know what is okay for you.

And they don’t have to be the same choices you make for the rest of your life, or even just for the rest of the year.

Some people think they want to be in a relationship, and spend all of college single, whereas others think they want to be single and spend all of college in one relationship or another. You just have to find people who are out to make the most of what they’re given.