Single college students can often be perceived to be lonely, have something wrong, or be done with dating in general. However, this is not the case all the time.
Some choose to stay single because they rather focus on their academic career.
According to the 2017 article “Dating Should Not be a Priority in College” by Kendra Rhodes in The Trumpet, the student newspaper at West Liberty University in Virginia, being in a relationship should not be a priority in college because it takes focus away from other important things.
“When relationships are prioritized over personal growth, goals are sidelined, and the overall success of the student suffers,” Rhodes wrote. “Placing precedence on education and friendships instead leads to a better college experience.”
College is known as the place to find yourself and what matters most to you, and being in a relationship often takes the focus away from you and shifts to the person you are with.
Rhodes goes on to point out how women are often pressured into being in relationships when they get to college.
“Being single in college is an ideal scenario to learn how to be independent and self-sustaining,” Rhodes wrote. “Because of social norms carried around from past generations, women sometimes feel pressured to always be attached to a man.”
Being single allows students to focus more on school work, spend more time with friends, have more “me time” and also be sexually free.
Victoria Ibarra, a Texas Wesleyan freshman marketing and management major, said that relationships in college have not been what she expected.
“I thought that dating would be something that the school revolved around. It felt expected and very pressured by everyone,” she said.
Ibarra has not engaged in any relationships while at Wesleyan and said that it is because nothing ever worked out.
“There was just never any connection that I felt was worth pursuing further,” Ibarra said.
Nikita Dhoubhadel, a senior marketing and management major, said she believes that the problem with dating in college is maturity.
“Boys are dumb, and I personally didn’t have any time to entertain their whims and massage their egos,” she said.
Dhoubhadel said that she had no intention of dating when she got to campus because relationships that form from friendships never reach their full potential.
“During my undergrad years, I did not want to date my friends and never developed any interest in them,” Dhoubhadel said. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing men altogether, but I guess my standards are all sorts of messed up.”
She understands that not everyone finds who they are made for in college.
“No one really finds their life partner in college and I’m okay with that,” Dhoubhadel said. “That’s why I’m cool with not dating anyone here.”
There is often a misconception that college relationships do not add up to anything more than hookups.
In a survey conducted of 20 Texas Wesleyan students, it was concluded that 65% think college students seek to be in a short-term relationship, while 35% believe students want to pursue long-term relationships.
According to a 2016 article on nbcnews.com by Lisa Heffernan, the number of people hooking up and going on dates is about the same.
“While 62 percent of college students had hooked up, 61 percent had been on dates,” Heffernan wrote.
College students are actually craving more serious relationships, according to the article.
“The authors found that not only did 67 percent of the female respondents say they wished they had more opportunities for long-term romantic relationships, but an even larger 71 percent of male students felt this way,” Heffernan wrote.
Michelle Feyisetan, a sophomore criminal justice major, said there is a lot of pressure from family members as well as society to be in a relationship.
“My mom is constantly asking me, ‘How are your boyfriends?’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t have any,’ which can be upsetting,” Feyisetan said. “The media doesn’t help either. I feel like everyone is in a relationship and I just want someone to pick me up before cuffing season (the cold season),” she said.
Feyisetan said that there just aren’t good options on this campus, so she turned to online dating.
She downloaded the popular dating app Bumble to see what options she had near her.
Feyisetan is not the only Wesleyan student to test the waters of the online dating world.
Video by Elena Maldonado and Tyreeyana Azjealn Ayrell Herrera- Otkins
Of the seven dating apps that the surveyed students have used, Tinder and Bumble were the most popular.
“Everyone around me was talking about their dating applications, so I went ahead and downloaded it because I was interested in finding a date or two,” she said.
Feyisetan said that to her, the app is more just for fun rather than actually pursuing something through it.
“I don’t want to meet my husband online, or through a dating app; it just feels weird,” she said. “There is a lot a person can lie about online, so it’s always been a little fishy to me.”
Chance Carroll, a freshman mass communication major, offers a different perspective of being in a relationship. He said he met his girlfriend in a club.
“Inside the club, we just started kicking it,” he said.
Carroll said he creates a balance between being a student and being in a relationship by separating the two.
“When she is not around I focus on school, and when she is around, I focus on her,” he said. “She helps me study too so that helps me a lot.”
Carroll gave advice to students who are looking into being in a relationship.
“Play it cool,” he said. “Don’t just trip up over any little thing that goes wrong. Keep faith in God and know that he will keep your relationship strong. Really, just play it cool and keep God first and you’ll be good.”
Dr. Matthew Hand, associate professor of psychology, said there are benefits to being single. When students are latched onto a significant other, a large portion of their interactions are limited to only that person. Being single offers different opportunities.
“Being single allows someone to be able to focus their energy on meeting other people,” he said. “College is a unique experience where you get to meet people and you have a chance to hear different perspectives, and figure out how you fit within different groups of people. It really helps build your sense of identity.”
Hand believes there are a variety of reasons for college students to choose to stay single.
“For some it’s focus,” he said. “They want to have focus on different aspects of their lives. For many in college, that’s their academics. For some, it could be less of a choice. They want to be in a relationship, but it hasn’t happened for them, and the way they engage with people in the past hasn’t led to them being in a relationship, or they haven’t found a partner that fits what they are looking for.”
He said another reason that more college students are staying single has to do with them wanting to experience more people.
“I think that we are seeing a growing desire, especially in this current generation, to get to know more people, especially in this part of their life so they can figure out what they want in both a partner and people they feel really bonded too,” he said.
Hand said there are relationships that can serve as a distraction.
“There are different types of relationships,” he said. “There are relationships in which they become enmeshed where the relationship becomes the focus; those are definitely a distraction from academics.”
He said that there are also relationships that know how to be healthy.
Video by Tyreeyana Azjealn Ayrell Herrera- Otkins and Elena Maldonado
“Both people in the relationship have good boundaries, and it’s about supporting the needs of the other person instead of, ‘You need to support my needs in the relationship,'” Hand said. “With those, I think the partner can serve as support. I have students all the time mentioning that their partners help encourage them to study and to explore different aspects of their education experience.”
Whether or not students decide to stay single or embark in a relationship during college, they should not feel pressured to be in a relationship. Being in college is a time where students can be selfish and figure out what direction they want their lives to go.
If students choose to be in a relationship, they need to ensure they are prioritizing their needs and know what it is they wish to accomplish in a relationship. If they choose to be single, then they are satisfied not being in a relationship, or simply not ready to mingle.