Hello incoming college freshmen! This article is for Y-O-U. As the fall semester rapidly approaches, allow me to bestow some of my senior year wisdom on you.
I remember three years ago when I was getting ready to move into my first dorm, I was filled with so many questions. Would I like my roommate? How hard would my classes be? Will I get homesick a lot? Does the dining hall food actually have laxatives in it?
Amongst all those questions circling around my brain, something I never questioned was my boyfriend.
In high school, I had always heard people say it was a bad idea to go to college with a significant other, claiming long distance would tear a hole through any young relationship, no matter how confident the couple was that they'd stay together. As many times as I'd heard it, though, this was something I never thought much about until second semester senior year when I got into my first "serious" relationship.
Even as I watched my friend's relationships disappear as fast as those summer months between high school and college disappeared, 18-year-old me believed I was the exception to this doomed relationship rule. I felt lucky because my boyfriend and I were going to the same college and would technically be living closer to one another in the dorms than we were at home.
We would make it and be better than ever in college, I thought.
Turns out, I thought wrong and before the sun set on my first semester at college, we had split. This led to a long winter break of explaining to far too many people what happened between us. On one of the last nights of break, a friend of mine asked me if I regretted continuing the relationship past high school. After a few seconds, I replied with a simple no. Now, almost three years later, the answer has developed a little more past my initial "no."
I still don't regret going to college in a relationship because, at the time, I wanted to be with him.
Despite how I might feel in regard to him now, he made me happy when I was eighteen and I will never deny that I was in love with him at one point in my life. He brought a lot of comfort to me when I was homesick during the first few weeks of college and having him so close to me was absolutely beneficial. However, despite all that, there were problems that developed as we grew in college. My mom always told me that the growth you do as individuals in relationships either simultaneously makes you grow together or apart, and we grew apart.
Things like this happen, and while I will never regret our relationship because I learned so much, I will always regret that I didn't end the relationship when I knew it was over. I held on for months too long, hindering mine and his own personal growth and making the eventual split far worse than it would've been in the early weeks of October when I first sensed the feelings of distance between us.
Something I've learned through a lot of pondering on this particular question is that it's not black and white, and it's certainly not an easy answer.
To sum up my experience, don't be afraid to go to college in a relationship if you can see a future with them. You don't have to be looking down the aisle at marriage when you're 18 years old, but if you care about them enough and see a generally long future with them, it's worth trying.
Ending high school doesn't mean you have to automatically end everything else going in your life at that time as well. However, that also doesn't mean you should stay with them if you feel like it's not working out. Yes, they probably feel safe because they're familiar in a time of a lot of firsts, but if they start to hinder your new experiences, maybe it's best to simply be thankful for the memories they've given you and move on.
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