Natalie Rohman

A Chicago Girl Paving Inspiration

Why Being Single During College is Empowering

It's rare for me to talk about my relationship status, but over the course of a few months I have experienced through close friends and family the hardships of broken relationships and people left feeling empty and hopeless—something I have really yet to experience and hope not to. There's so much pressure on young people to be dating and out and about finding a man or woman to have on your arm. What even is dating anymore? Swiping right? 

I've had my fair share of Tinder experiences and dates, this probably won't be the end of it, but it has really made me reconsider the reasons we date and find people to be with nowadays. High school was never an option for me to date. I personally just didn't have much interest in dating and then breaking up before we graduated. "People just date to break up," was my impression of it all. It was just so taboo to me because people would just fake be together to "be together". 

Now that I'm in my second year of college, I've got to wondering about how my parent's generation just happened to meet their soulmates in college, because frankly, I haven't found any contenders. Times have changed and I think expectations are way higher, now that we can customize our dating preferences online and immediately swipe away the duds. How have we become fixated on finding this "perfect one," when we're all too fixated on making ourselves appear to be the "perfect one" online?
These past two years in college have opened my eyes to what I really want moving forward, socially and career-wise. I've begun to embrace my autonomy and have become more inspired because of it. I've been producing creative work that I believe in—doing that is hard when you have to worry about your significant other. There have been so many instances that I've noticed people being hindered and cut off from fully being their monarch butterfly selves just because they were afraid of releasing from that bond (or crysallis if we're staying on the topic of butterflies) for a moment to do something they themselves wanted to do. 

Knowing that I have the freedom to do whatever the hell I want during this period of my life has not only strengthened my mental wellbeing but the way I approach challenges and also when I do meet new people, I'm confident in myself. I don't have anyone to report to or prove it to, but me. Of course, I would be open to relationships and all the joys that come with it—I'm not anti-dating. Finding myself now, during college, has lead me to reflect on who I want to become and who I would consider letting into my life. 

There also comes a point in time where I think every middle-aged person feels like they're forced to marry or settle with the first person they see. What a terrible way to connect with someone! Wouldn't you think? I mean obviously that's not entirely the case unless you're on 90 Day Fiance, then I guess you don't have much of a choice. I want my 20s to be a fun exploration of people and relationships, but I also want to remind myself that I don't need anyone to fulfill some social need or standard; that we're all just supposed to have dated a lot of people by the time we're thirty. 

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