Originally published in The Revolution Issue, Winter 2016
I’m going into my final term at uni, and I’ve never had a serious, long-term relationship. I’ve dated people before, but for various reasons none of these relationships have lasted longer than a few months. With so many people seeming to find ‘The One’ at university, I’m worried I may have missed my opportunity – am I just being paranoid, or should I try be trying harder to put myself out there to meet someone before I graduate?” – Single and Stressed
It’s understandable that you might feel anxious about meeting someone, now that your time as a student is nearing an end. From the moment we accept our place at university, parents, relatives, teachers and anyone else who was once a student tell us you that “you’ll have the time of your life!” and “you’ll meet so many like-minded people!” – chances are you will graduate with some incredible memories and friends for life, but it does unwittingly put a lot of pressure on us to meet that ‘special somebody’. This is usually reinforced by relentless questioning from your family on your love life whenever you go home, as they enquire as to whether you’re still single, and “what about that nice person that you were seeing before?” Throw in a bunch of friends who all seem to have their shit together and have found someone, consequently inundating your Facebook timeline and Twitter feed with regular reminders that they’re still all loved up and that you’re very much not, it’s no surprise that so many of us feel that university is the time and place to meet someone and settle down into coupledom.
So, if you’re approaching your final few months of university and feel you’re maybe late to the party re: the relationship game (or that you didn’t even receive a damn invite), worry not, friend, for you are not alone. Though it may feel like it sometimes, as we hear endless stories of how the people around us met their Person on a night out in their SU or through sitting next to them in a class or through a friend of a friend at a flat party, there are many more people who will be attending their graduation without a partner to take cute photos under the cloisters with (and who really wants to be that couple anyway? Pfft, get a room.)
There is no reason to believe that the dating game should end along with your time at university. Whilst it might feel like opportunities will be limited after leaving the social smörgåsbord of university, there will still be plenty of chances to meet new people in whatever you choose to do as a graduate, be it finding a job, doing a postgrad, travelling or just generally lamenting over being a Proper Adult (because you certainly won’t be alone on that last one). There really is no time limit on finding love, nor is university the only environment in which it can blossom. Love also tends to come around when you’re not looking for it, difficult as that may be at times.
However, I am a firm believer that there is so, so much more to life than finding someone to spend it with. Yes, relationships are lovely, and it’s human nature to want all the nice things that come with them, but they are not the be all and end all of life, nor your happiness. Learning to be happy on your own can be tough, and at times it can feel very lonely. But there is something incredibly fulfilling about realising that you are significant without the ‘other’, and that you do not need another half, because you are already whole.
This is arguably more important now than ever, given the stage you are at in your university career. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, take time to focus on yourself and your goals, both academic and otherwise. Make the most of the time you have left at university, graduate with the best degree classification you can, figure out what you want to do after uni and work towards it, and take the love you would give to another person and channel it towards your friends, your family and yourself. There will be so many more opportunities for you to find The One, but life is so much more enjoyable when you learn not to spend it looking for them.
[Hannah Burke – @hannahcburke_]
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