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Ready. Set. Date!

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Sep. 29, 2014

On my first college visit, the tour guide told me that students regularly found their significant other while attending college. That offhand comment put dating and finding a “real man” on the forefront of my mind for most of my freshman year. As a young and naïve freshman, I ended up making a lot of mistakes. I did learn a lot about what it means to date and what dating is really intended to be. I only wish I could have learned these lessons in a less embarrassing and painful way.

There are so many new faces when arriving on campus; it can be a bit overwhelming. Avoid rushing into anything. Take time to soak in all your surroundings. With a lot of change, there can be a lot of emotions. Mixed with a new relationship, you can get one big mess, which I just happened to do.

Going into college, I wanted to start fresh, breaking up with my high school boyfriend. Boys, both new and older, were all that occupied my mind. During orientation week, I checked out every cute boy that walked by me. I participated in every event possible, just in case I would meet Mr. Right. Time and continual obsessing eventually led to a guy. He was cute, had amazing eyes, and the selling point was; he liked me. That was how shallow I was as a freshman girl; he just had to be cute and like me, and I was sold. As you can guess, this “relationship” ended very quickly, because it had no purpose or goal. There was literally no reason for us being together other than we wanted to be dating someone.

So my second piece of advice would be, date with a purpose. Each of us has a purpose, a vocation, here on earth. When you date, you should not only be discerning if this is the right person for you, but you need to determine if you should even be dating in the first place.  Until I realized this, I continued to follow the same pattern of bad dating habits. I dated for the fun of it or for the thrill of the chase. Because of this, I soon had a string of guys I left in my wake. In time, I realized I was going nowhere, and a re-evaluation was in order.

One thing that helped me date in a healthier way was that I made a list of why I wanted to date a particular guy and what characteristics I was looking for. This helped give dating a tangible purpose, making it more fulfilling. I would go so far as to say the best purpose you can give yourself to date is for marriage. Marriage? Are you serious? You might be thinking to yourself “I’m not ready for that!” Then, don’t date until you are ready. If there’s one thing I have learned, it is that dating is not a light matter, it helps determine your future.

This brings me to my third piece of advice. Once you are ready to date, date a lot. Now, don’t think I am saying be promiscuous or insincere. Date a lot of people and see who makes the cut. Go to dinner with someone and have a conversation. Get to know them as a person. Then, make a decision about moving to the next step in the relationship. 

As an obsessed and boy crazy freshman, I ended up being hurt and even hurting others along the way. I was thinking with emotions and not my brain. Don’t let the excitement of a new place cloud your judgment. Make college a time to figure out both what you’re going to do, and also who you want to become. With that mindset, dating becomes a lot more enjoyable. It shows you are ready, you have a purpose, and you know what you are looking for.