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Relationships at Varsity: Yes or No?

by Caitlan Russell


Dating is first introduced to in school. Generally, people start dating and experimenting in high school and this continues throughout university. Some people do it to find their forever person while some do it to have some fun. Are relationships at varsity a good idea for your academic performance and long-term success?

When I started my first year at UCT, a relationship was very low down on my list of priorities- definitely less important than being at Tin Roof every Thursday night, and even less important than attending my 8AM lectures the next Friday morning (which is really saying something). In fact, I swore that I didn’t want a relationship. Now that I am in my honours year, a lot of things have changed – not only do I never go to Tin Roof, and always go to my 8AM lectures, but I find myself happily in a serious relationship. While a relationship is obviously not something that can really be evaluated in a list of pros and cons, here are a few insights I have gained, looking back on my few years at UCT, both in a relationship and single.

Relationships at Varsity: No?


Many people starting off their degrees think that being in a relationship will make them suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) and give them less freedom to go out and to make new friends.  While this really depends on the person and the relationship, there is the danger that the comfort of having a boyfriend or girlfriend might not force you to go out and meet new people, especially if you are new to the university.

2. Neglecting other relationships or work

When some people enter a relationship, their lives seem to be put on hold as their entire world revolves around their partner.  This can be problematic when it means that other friendships get neglected or if it distracts you from coping with varsity work.

3. Being in a relationship means having to compromise

Whether it’s about which movie to see, or balancing hanging out with your friends and your partner’s friends, you have to take your partner’s feelings into account too. If you are dating someone, you can’t always just do what you want to do – so if you’re not ready to do that, being in a relationship may be difficult for you, especially at university where you are juggling friends, studies, jobs and other responsibilities.

4. “Party now while you can”

Some people fear feeling “tied down” in a relationship, especially if you are just starting your university career. Similarly others think that your early years at university should be the time when you take advantage of going out a lot (as opposed to staying in with your girlfriend or boyfriend), since in your later years of studying, you may have less free time for this. Of course, nothing is stopping you from going out if you are in a relationship, but if these fears resonate with you, perhaps you are not ready to commit to being in a relationship.

Relationships at Varsity: Yes?

1. Being exposed to new friends from different friend circles, cities, countries or faculties

University is one of the best places to be when it comes to meeting new and different types of people, and being exposed to different ideas, cultures and ways of thinking. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend may only enhance this, especially if you are from different cities/countries or different faculties/degrees, as you mix your friendship groups and ideas.

2. Having someone to support you when things get tough

Whether exam time is looming or you are missing your family or home, it is reassuring to have someone who will support you and be there for you – and listen to your complaints about how much work you have or how stressed you are (because no matter how good your friends are, they will eventually get tired of listening to this).

3. Being in a relationship means never having to watch series on a weekend night alone.

Which makes those Game of Thrones marathons ok.

4. Being in a relationship means that you never have to be lonely.

Of course, this also depends on the type of person you are – some people enjoy having plenty of “me-time”, while others prefer to have people around them.  But especially for those who are at university away from home, or are living by themselves or in res, a boyfriend or girlfriend can be your family away from home.

5. Not being involved in “game-playing”

One of the advantages of a relationship is not having to be single and deal with all the “game-playing” and uncertainty that may accompany going out and dating; rather you can be with someone who accepts and loves you for who you are.

6. Taking advantage of the opportunity at university to meet lots of new people through dating

University is one of the times when you are constantly meeting new people, so perhaps it is the time to be taking advantage of this by dating and figuring out what kinds of people you like or would like to date, regardless of whether you and your date are going to be together forever or not.

7. Love

And of course, being in a relationship means (or should mean) being in love and being loved in return.  I don’t think I have to elaborate on this one.

Of course, ultimately whether or not being in a relationship at varsity would work for you, is not really something that can be established in a list of pros or cons and will differ from person to person and relationship to relationship.  In the end, the decision won’t really be about FOMO or having someone to watch series with- it will be about being with someone who makes you happy in a way no one else can. And if you have that, you probably won’t need to look at the pros and cons.

EduConnect 2cents

Generally, you’ll know what you want with regards to dating. You may be totally against dating until you meet that one person who completely sweeps you off your feet. Or you may date various people because they bring fun and companionship into your life. Whatever type of person you are, you should know yourself well enough to know what you want. If you don’t know what you want, find out.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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