By Rhiannon James
As someone who has been in a relationship throughout my time at university, I am no stranger to phrases such as “you’re wasting the best years of your life in a relationship” or “you’re not having the true university experience if you’re not single”. But, why is there a perception that if you’re in a relationship while at university you’re doing it ‘wrong’?
The biggest argument against being in a relationship whilst at university is that you’re going to miss out on all the fun, people who are in a relationship are consistently labelled as ‘boring’, but this is a generalisation and isn’t true for everyone in a relationship. For some couples, having a night-in together is more appealing than going out for a few drinks with friends, but others do enjoy going on a night-out, with or without their partner. If you love going out, this doesn’t have to change because of their relationship status. Similarly, the fact that you’re single doesn’t mean that you spend more time with your friends or that you love a night out. The effort you put into friendships or university life is dependent on you and your personality and isn’t based on your relationship status.
A positive factor of going to university single is that you do learn how to be independent and how to spend time with yourself. These are skills that you can learn whilst being in a relationship but being single presents more opportunities to exercise independence. As someone who went to the same university as their boyfriend, I admit that it was a comfort blanket knowing I had someone I could lean on in the crazy time that is moving away to university. If I had been single, I possibly would’ve been more independent in my first year, but now as a third year I can confidently say that I am independent individual and I’m continually trying to find the perfect balance between friends, relationships and university.
There are elements of a relationship that could have a negative effect on your university experience, for example if you and your partner are at different universities then you are going to be travelling to see each other and therefore missing-out on significant quality time with university friends. But missing out on a few occasions with friends could seem worth it to you as you are committed to maintaining the relationship. Previously in this article I have been focusing on healthy relationships, but if you are in a controlling or unhappy relationship this is more likely to impact university life and you could be wasting time on someone, time you won’t get back – remember university is usually only 3-5 years of your life, make the most of it!
That being said – if you’re single, if you’re in a committed relationship, if it’s complicated – as long as you’re doing what makes you happy and your situation isn’t restricting your personal and academic growth then keep doing you. At the end of the day, it is a personal preference as to whether you want to be single or in a relationship during university, do what makes you happy!