As post-Easter exams approach, Life and Style's Jess Howlett shares her tips on how to remain motivated over EasterWritten by Guest Author on 19th March 2018
The Relationship Debate
Life&Style writers Samantha Callaghan and Phoebe Hughes-Broughton debate whether or not students should stay single at university
There has long been a debate over whether students should stay single at university, a debate intensified by UCAS including your boyfriend/girlfriend in their 'what you should leave at home' guide for new students. Here, Life&Style writers Samantha and Phoebe give their opinions.
Samantha: "There's no shame in being in a relationship whilst at university"
Modern day relationships are difficult and pressurised enough as it is, without their “worth” being evaluated by everyone other than the actual couple themselves. As with everything these days, everyone has an opinion on issues that don’t concern them, something I have certainly experienced with my choice to continue my relationship when moving to Birmingham. The general ideology I’ve encountered is a negative one, met with grimaces and the classic line “ooh, you’re brave” when someone discovers that I won’t actually be ditching my boyfriend when moving to university; as if it is the expectation that I should. Being made to feel like I’m some kind of naïve fool for doing so.
There is a definite pressure to be single when starting university as if it’s the “done thing” to just end a relationship before you go, regardless of feelings or circumstances, as if your university experience will be “spoiled” somehow by having a partner. Long before I started university, I felt the pressure when choosing where to study, as I knew favouring a university relatively close to home would prompt the assumption that I couldn’t bear to be too far from my boyfriend- which for me, didn’t influence my decision in the slightest
“There is a definite pressure to be single when starting university as if it’s the “done thing” to just end a relationship before you go
Some people assume that you’ll be antisocial and avoid interaction with course mates and flat mates in favour of Skyping your significant other all night, every night. Or maybe not join societies to allow you to go home every weekend freely to see your partner. However, in my case anyway, this couldn’t be further from the truth. My boyfriend in fact encourages me to go out, socialise and try new things. He understands better than most my personal journey to get here, as he was there to help me revise for every A level exam and support me through every breakdown- something he continues to do through university. Contrary to what some believe, he would never dream of hindering either my academic or social success, intentionally or otherwise. Instead he shares my passion and excitement and helps me find my way back onto the right path when things get too much or I lose sight of what I’m doing. Something for which, he is deserving of an award. I choose not to be defined by my relationship status and why should I be? I am my own person, making my own decisions and enjoying my life and university experience to the full. No less than someone who is single.
“He understands better than most my personal journey to get here
Ultimately, there is absolutely no shame in being in a relationship whilst at university and the stigma attached to it, in my opinion, is ridiculous. Not to mention damaging. Making people believe that their relationship has little or no chance of survival at university may even dissuade some from going in the first place. There’s enough pressure on us nowadays, especially concerning university, without this unnecessary stress. It’s even been suggested to me that I am potentially sacrificing my long-term success in life, in favour of short-term happiness. But who is to say it will be short term? Of course, there is always the chance it won’t work out, because who knows what the future holds? But equally there is a chance it could go the distance. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, it is the decision of the couple and the couple alone whether it is worth the risk to carry on through university. Yes, it is a risk. But in my case, one I am happy I have taken. If anything, I would say it has enhanced my university experience. So far, so good.
Phoebe: "Being single at university has saved me a lot of hassle"
As someone who is rather partial to a drink or two – or three, or four – on a night out, I think being single at university has saved me a lot of hassle. If a guy starts chatting me up at a bar, I don’t have to remember through my drunken haze whether me and that guy I’ve been seeing are actually exclusive. When I see a hot guy in a club, I can walk up to him with all the alcohol-induced confidence I can muster, rather than sadly letting him walk away because I have a boyfriend waiting for me at home.
Don’t get me wrong- when I do get home it can be boring, knowing that there’s no one waiting for me to call them or worrying if I don’t text to say I’ve survived the night. But that’s what friends are for. Name a situation and, as long as they’re decent people, your friends can fill in for your boyfriend in many ways. Friends should care if you made it home alright, or if you want a cuddle because you’re feeling low; and friends are definitely more willing to watch a cheesy rom-com to cheer you up than most boyfriends.
“When I do get home it can be boring, knowing that there’s no one waiting for me to call them or worrying if I don’t text to say I’ve survived the night. But that’s what friends are for
Being single at university lets you experience true autonomy – both the hardships, and the happy times. You can cook what you want when you want, and every weekend is a chance to do whatever you like without considering another person’s interests or opinions; you just might have to work a little harder to find a human-hot-water-bottle on a night out if you want someone in your bed when you wake up. It can be scary, and lonely, and cold; but for every bad time, there’s always the exhilaration of a night out, the freedom of dinner alone, the calm of a quiet night in with a film of your choice. I have my independence, and I wouldn’t give it up for all the boyfriends (or girlfriends) in the world.