Students should focus on classes, not cupid

If you are a college student depressed this Valentine’s Day because a past relationship didn’t work out the way you intended and you have no idea which way your love life is headed, find refuge in the reason many come to college in the first place: to develop the skills necessary to excel in a particular career.

One thing I’ve learned in my time at USF is that the college years are a very confusing time for many people. People often experiment with different majors, jobs and social circles, making the likelihood of a person changing interest in the type of people they date that much higher.

Most college graduates between the ages of 30 and 40 that I have met say that college was a time in which they learned about themselves. You shouldn’t feel too surprised if your college relationship doesn’t work out the way you planned it. By keeping this in the back of your mind, you leave room for growth and protect yourself from catastrophic disappointment.

The type of relationship I’m referring to is the serious monogamistic relationship in which both parties are exclusive to each other. These types of relationships are very easy to get into but very hard to maintain. I’ve spoken to many women during my college years and believe I have discovered why 18- to 22-year-old women jump headfirst into serious relationships: it’s the sex factor.

Many young women are not comfortable enough with themselves to have casual sex. They are afraid of people labeling them as being promiscuous. So they jump into a relationship just to make themselves feel better about having sex with a guy they are attracted to.

Young men, on the other hand, will throw caution to the wind and submit to whatever the young lady demands without thinking about the effort that goes into monogamy, just to have sex.

Everything is great at first, but as time goes on, things change. People join clubs or get jobs. They spend less time together and more time with new people. Someone gets jealous, they grow apart and they break up. But because of their emotional attachment, both participants are miserable. That’s just one situation, though.

Some women threaten to dump their boyfriends – who are clearly not ready for the next level – if they don’t get a commitment in the form of a ring. But this solution only gives them a false sense of security. Sometimes the women completely forget the fact that a ring is a material object and it’s not guaranteed to prevent a man from cheating.

Then there are men who demand that their significant others make all the sacrifices in the relationship while they do whatever they want.

I know splitting up from someone you care about is painful, but try to remember why you came to college in the first place: to get educated. Remember that life went on before you met that person and it will go on afterward. If you put the majority of your faith in yourself, you will limit the anguish of being alone.

Ryan Watson is a non-degree seeking student at USF.