Students weigh in on the complexity of college relationships



Princess Garrett


In addition to balancing sleep, school and a social life, some people are able to handle a relationship in college. Whether it is a relationship with someone on campus or a long-distance relationship across states, couples find ways to make it work despite the many difficulties that accompany being a college student. I talked to several couples on campus and from other universities to get their perspectives on the highs and lows of being in a relationship in college.

(For confidentiality, the names of the respondents have been changed). 

I asked Brian, a student at the University, how it is being in a relationship with his girlfriend of a little over 2 years. “Being in a relationship is great,” he said. “Difficulties arise due to separation, but we work through those rough times. She’s my support for any struggle I may have, and I’m grateful to be with her.” Brian’s girlfriend does not attend the University, however she is from the Philadelphia area and the couple manages to visit each other whenever they are able to. This couple shows us how long-distance relationships can work when effort is expended to make it work. 

Gabrielle, another student at the University, explained what it is like to be in relationship with her boyfriend on campus. “We’ve only been together for a few months, but so far it’s great,” she said. “I love how he can take my mind off the more serious things in my life that stress me out. Having dinner together, going into the city or just talking about random things to help me relax. Communication is key, though, in making relationships work because you can get so caught up in your busy life here at college that some things go unsaid or some things get misinterpreted. So just make sure the communication is there.” 

Another University student explained why he prefers to be in a relationship during his junior and senior years. “As an underclassman, I would not be ready for a relationship. I just want to have fun and have some freedom before I commit to something serious.” That perspective is understandable because the full college experience does consist of partying, having fun and meeting new people. 

On the other hand, we have people that are not in relationships. I asked one of my friends who attends Duquesne University about her views on college relationships. “I think college relationships are great in most cases whether the outcome be positive or negative,” she said. “College is all about learning about yourself and growing as a person, and interacting with someone else in a relationship is included in that process. My experience with college relationships has not been the greatest so far, and honestly my experiences have hurt me greatly. But because of them I have been able to grow stronger. 

“I’ve learned to put myself first and not define myself by the people I choose to be in a relationship with. So even though my experiences were rough, in the end, I’m happy because they have helped me obtain a better sense of who I am and what makes me happy…and to me it does not matter whether your relationship is long distance or local, as long as the hearts are in the right places, it can be beautiful.” 

Single or taken, everyone has a reason for their relationship status. Hopefully these perspectives will give you insights into whether or not a college relationship is right for you right now.