The Pressure’s Off

CAPS Peer Educator Emma Burke shares her experience of navigating a relationship during the transition to college. Read on to see what she has to say!

With everything we hear from our favorite TV shows, movies, and even music, it’s easy to begin thinking that by the time we get to college, we need to be in a serious relationship. College is where everyone finds their partner, right? Well, maybe not so right. According to The Daily Dot, only twenty-eight percent of married college graduates actually met their spouses during college while attending the same University (Klee). What does this tell us? College is where we come to grow into well-rounded adults. Do we like surfing? Do we enjoy tofu or steak? Do we want to travel, and if so, where do we want to go? Each one of us has to answer these questions for ourselves, and we have limitless opportunities to do so! There is no reason why we can’t find our partner along the way, but there’s also no pressure to be on the hunt for our soulmate before we find out what we actually want in one. And the most important thing to keep in mind is that if we feel the pressure to find a partner, we may be more likely to “plug someone in” instead of finding someone we truly want in our lives. Overlooking someone’s faults in an attempt to fulfill one’s societal duties can lead to unhealthy relationships and unhappiness.

When I was choosing where I wanted to go to college during my senior year, I was in a fairly serious relationship of about a year and a half. My boyfriend was my best friend, however he was a year older than me and had already started college at our local community college. When it came time for me to choose where I wanted to go, I had a hard time deciding whether or not I should stay at home and go to school with him or go away to school. I cared about him a lot, but I also knew I wanted a new adventure. I wanted to experience going away to college and living in a different city outside of my small hometown. In the end, I knew I was in a healthy relationship because he encouraged me to go away to school. I decided that I didn’t want to stay home because I didn’t need a boyfriend to see every day. I didn’t need to cling to him, because if we were going to grow into well-rounded adults, we had to do that without the pressure of our relationship being the most important thing in our lives. So I came to UC Santa Cruz, and without any pressure, we have stayed together. I know our relationship is healthy because despite the fact that we haven’t altered our lives to ensure that we have a partner, we continue to spend time together because we simply enjoy it.

The key thing to take away from this little anecdote is that when a relationship is good and healthy, it won’t feel pressured or forced. Only you can decide when it’s a good time, no one else. And that gives you a lot of power.

-By Emma Burke