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Dating in College: 17 Vital Secrets that Make All the Difference

dating in college

Dating is whole lotta cray! Nothing ups the ante in insane more than dating in college. Here’s a rundown of the things to know before dating in college.

College makes up some of the best years of your life. This is when you enjoy more freedom than ever, hand in hand with more responsibilities—but you’re not there yet. The real world still lies ahead of you, and you’re preparing yourself for it. Including understanding the world of dating. Dating in college is a whole new world of opportunity and learning.

Meanwhile, you still have a free pass on life, in the sense you’re allowed to make mistakes, change your mind, run wild, watch wet t-shirt contests, join wet t-shirt contests, and just experience this amazing stage of life.

Things to know about dating in college

While dating in general is filled with misconceptions and disillusionment, dating in college is a whole new league of its own when it comes to crazy. Here’s what you should know about love and dating in college.

#1 College is yours to enjoy. And experience. The first thing to know as soon as you step into college is that this will be different from any other phase in your life before. You are almost out there in the “real world” and conquering college is the key *well, sort of*.

Along with more responsibilities and that once-elusive independence, you face new experiences—and it’s all yours to soak in. [Read: College bucket list: 30 must-have items on your list]

#2 Hold off for a month or two. Don’t get too excited. Don’t jump into a relationship as soon as college orientation ends. While you may see dozens of cute guys or have been eyeing an interesting girl, wait for a while before you get into the dating scene.

Get a good feel of what college life is. Get to know more people, establish your clique if need be, join an on-campus organization, or just see what else is out there, so to speak.

#3 Avoid dating anyone in your building. Don’t invite trouble where you sleep. While dating someone in the same building as yours can be great and convenient when the relationship goes smoothly and in the throes of the honeymoon stage, imagine if things between you two ended badly.

You don’t want to be taking another date to your room while your ex looks on, right? [Read: 6 big reasons why it’s almost impossible to stay with your high school sweetheart]

#4 Don’t take it too seriously. Remember to have fun, with or without the person you’re dating. Better yet, date a few other people. Don’t stick to one just yet. At least until you’re very sure about what you want with your life and with the person you want to commit to.

If there’s one time to enjoy dating, it’s during college when you’re young and much of the responsibilities of life are still ahead of you.

#5 Be careful of hookups. While college dating can be all fun and games and beer pongs, be careful of the people you hook up with. Make sure to draw boundaries as to what you want to happen or what you’re willing to do.

Especially beware the needy people. Be careful not to be clingy with the person you’re hooking up with, as this can easily take the fun out of it all. [Read: Dating material vs. a hookup – 12 easy ways to split them up]

#6 No to drunk-texting. College is notorious for parties and beers, and you’ll have your share of it all soon. However, if you find yourself jilted by someone, or just thinking about professing your love, never do it drunk.

In fact, don’t take out your phone when you’re drinking to avoid drunk-texting. It’s never cool. Nothing good ever comes out of it—whether you’re in college or not.

#7 Focus on what matters. You’re in college for one reason: to get your degree. While there’s plenty of “extracurricular” activities to keep you occupied, don’t let yourself get side-tracked. In fact, set some goals for yourself so you make the most out of your college years and graduate successfully.

The last thing you’d want is something you might regret, so make the most out of what college life offers.

#8 Don’t waste your time. Dating in college can be lots of fun. You can go serial and date people one after the other, or you can go ahead and be exclusive with one person.

Whatever the case may be, remember not to waste your time on relationships that drain and frustrate you. Don’t waste your time on negative people. Instead surround yourself with those who help you reach your own goals. [Read: Casual dating: 15 reasons why it’s the best thing ever]

#9 Grab on to opportunities. College is that time in your life when the opportunities to find out what you really like abound. It also gives you a pretty good idea of who and what you want to be after you graduate.

If there are learning opportunities along the way, don’t let dating in college hamper you. After all, if the person values you enough, they support you as you take steps to fulfill your dreams.

#10 Is LDR worth it? So maybe you have a high school sweetheart that went to another college that’s like a million miles to where you are. Or through college your bae ends up switching majors or studying abroad. Think real hard if doing the long-distance thing is worth it, especially if you’re just going to see each other once a year. [Read: 13 signs you should end your long distance relationship]

#11 Remember this. You don’t have to find “the one” at this time. Consider your college years as a testing ground to get you prepared for the real life ahead. Therefore, this is the time for you to learn and experience what you can to enrich your life and prepare yourself.

While it’s nice to have someone dear with you through all this, don’t pressure yourself to get into a serious relationship. Not everyone finds the person they’ll marry and have kids with during college.

#12 Be safe. Protection! This is the golden rule of college dating, in spite of all the frat parties and drunken binges you attend. While it’s fine to have some fun and be carefree, you really don’t need to be that careless. The last thing you need now is an unplanned pregnancy from a drunken hump session with someone who turns out to be a jerk OR some sexually transmitted disease. [Read: Pulling out is completely safe and other bad sex advice]

#13 If you’re a virgin… It’s okay to stay that way. If you’ve stepped into the promising grounds of college life without having popped your cherry *yet*, don’t heed the pressure or the temptation to change that.

College isn’t about that and you shouldn’t feel compelled to give yourself away to the first person that shows interest in you. It’s perfectly okay if you’re still a virgin at this point. It’s also okay to survive college with your hymen still intact or not having kissed a girl.

#14 Be open. Don’t be afraid to go out there and meet all kinds of people—you’ll be surprised at the things you will learn. Dating in college gives you enough freedom to meet people from various backgrounds, so don’t close your doors to just one particular person, or limit yourself to a set of ideals you’ve set for yourself.

You never know—the least likely person you thought you’d never even like may end up being the one that sweeps you off your feet. [Read: College and mid-twenties relationships – The big differences you can’t ignore]

#15 Experiment. In relation to being open, you should also be willing to try things you never thought you’d ever do. Dating in college gives you opportunities to do things you haven’t heard of, from doing tequila shots to kissing another girl, to going all activist with the person you’re going out with and hold a picket on the street.

#16 Learn from your mistakes. So, while you try new things during college, you’re also bound to commit a few mistakes, if not a lot. Some of this can be inevitable as you learn the ropes through life, while there are some that you can actually do without.

The important thing is to learn from all this and come off as a better person. [Read: Reinvent your life: 12 must-read books to read in your 20s]

#17 Go easy on yourself. A failed relationship isn’t the end of the world. Not during college, and never will it be. A failed test grade isn’t the end of your academic life either. Learn to create some balance out of your life as early as now, as you need this skill later in life.

There’s a time for partying all night, and there’s also a time for showing up on time for that 7am class.

[Read: How your first love affects your future relationships]

Maybe you’ll end up marrying and having kids with your college sweetheart—maybe not. One thing is for sure though, dating in college can be one of the best experiences you’ll have before you move on up to the real world.

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Tiffany Reyes
Tiffany Grace Reyes
Tiffany is a wordsmith who has played with words ever since her letter-to-the-editor was published nationally at the age of 9. Since then her writing has gone f...
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