Something about the month of February seems to make people want to run, skip, and fall in love.
But the people who were already there and stay for the long haul know that it takes a bit more than Cupid’s arrow and a box of chocolates to stay in love. And college.
Raven Moreno, a senior exercise science major and shortstop for Texas Wesleyan’s Lady Rams softball team, is balancing a relationship, motherhood, college, and a passion for softball. She admits that while it takes effort, organization, and sacrifice, it can all work out.
“I took last semester off because of the baby,” said Moreno. He [Moreno’s boyfriend] took this semester off so that I could finish [school]. He went to school last semester while I was home with the baby. And then, he’ll finish next semester.”
The couple welcomed baby Jacob on Aug. 18, 2013, and continue to inspire each other for the better.
“He’s the one who encouraged me to come back [to school] and play softball,” Moreno said. “He was like, ‘dude, you can do it.’ He’s awesome for that.”
But this couple will not run down the aisle in the immediate future. They’ve agreed to complete a few goals first.
“I want to be able to finish school and have a steady career so that we’re not just throwing another big thing into the mix of it all [college, sports, baby Jacob,]” Moreno said. “We’re together, but we’re not married. We have no short-term plans for it. We’re not rushing.”
And according to Sean Stokes, PhD LPC-S, LMFT-S assistance professor of graduate counseling at Wesleyan, taking it slow is a good idea.
“I don’t think that I would recommend that [college students] hold off [on a relationship,] but probably not dive into it as seriously as some of them seem to,” said Stokes. “My recommendation is slow down; you’re OK. Find out who you are and how you fit in this world. [Then] find those people who match those values and those principles.”
The Moreno softball/baseball duo seems to have done just that. But the appearance of the “take it slow” idea can create a difference. Dr. Stokes advises that students first look at their motives for wanting a relationship.
“[Are they] looking for that other person to validate [themselves]?” Stokes said. “[If so, they] kind of come in [to the relationship] only 50 percent real. The other 50 percent is [them] trying to find a soul mate to complete [them]. How about we try you being complete first, as best you can, before you get into that relationship?”
Which is what Wesleyan student, Jameka Jones, junior psychology major, and her former partner are working toward.
“I am single,” said Jones, “[but] currently working through problems with my ex.”
Moreno, Stokes, and Jones agree that communication is an essential element to a lasting relationship.
“Communication was a big problem,” Jones said. “We had to work on what we thought was happening and what was actually happening. We worked through meaningless arguments to find out what the true problems were and that helped a lot.”
And as Dr. Stokes advises, having things in common can help most relationships.
“School brought us closer together,” Jones said. “We study together and do homework together.”
Stokes also suggests that relationships, like the people in them, are unique. And it’s important to find what works best with each one and not make comparisons. But the logic behind love and relationships proposes that there are some common threads among all successful relationships. For Moreno, Stokes, and Jones, one of the most important things in a relationship is communication.
“I think that [communication] is what’s really good about us,” Moreno said.
Moreno also attributes the ability to balance family, school, and sports to maintaining healthy self-identities and overall physical health. A well-planned schedule doesn’t hurt either.