Love is one of the most enigmatic aspects of our lives. It can take many different shapes and be all different sizes –from fleeting crushes to the deepest love. If you were to ask someone their advice on love, what they would tell you would be different from what another friend had said, which would be different from another friend, and so on… because everyone has a different idea of what love means to them.
And the Internet doesn’t help us much. We have multiple websites telling us what a perfect relationship should look like, spouting commandments for keeping your man happy. I recently saw an essay that said that you should avoid finding love in college; that it can hold you back and make you miss out on all sorts of things.
Give me a second to explain.
I generally kept my head down in college. I didn’t really want to be there (I didn’t feel I needed college, even though I did). I didn’t pay attention to most of the people in my classes — except the people who I frequently saw in multiple courses. I would walk through the halls and occasionally look up, see a boy, and think, “Why haven’t you been in any of my classes? You’re cute. What’s your name? Sir, excuse… aaaaand you’re gone.” Then I would look back down at the floor and move on. But I never felt like I was missing out on anything either.
Then, towards the end of my super senior year (What? I went to school for five years, it happens!), I took a class that I was forced to enroll in as a graduation requirement. I would roll into class super late because it was a flexible course, and I would just sort of keep to myself once I was there.
But I started struggling to get my work done, so I would look around to see who was doing right and ask them to help me.
I annoyed him into helping me, and here we are almost two years later. (I know. That story is totally oozing with romance.)
But I’m glad that I found him when I did. When my final semester was nearing its end and graduation felt inches away, I started freaking out that I was going to fail my classes and have to push graduation back again. I was scared about the prospect of no longer being a student. I feared becoming a full-fledged adult, rather than the half in, half out grownup I was at that point.
As I continued learning to face my problems head on, he helped keep me grounded and taught me work out issues I was facing. While I knew that I could rely on my friends to listen to me and give advice when needed (and they were and still are seriously incredible humans), having a romantic partner in your corner is totally different. He wouldn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear. He would tell me what I needed to hear.
I started to act differently, and he called me on it. It was hard to hear, but I knew that it was the truth. Hearing that gave me the nudge I needed to start pulling myself out of it. I’m not entirely out of the woods yet, but it is so beneficial to know that I have someone helping me move forward in a more positive and healthy way.
Sure, some people do want to be free as a bird during that transitional period in their lives, and that’s totally cool. But some people would also benefit from that kind of relationship during a very tough time. I have gone through many highs and a few dark lows since I finding my heart aflutter with love — and it is largely because of my relationship that I have been able to deal with those struggles and become a less freaked out adult. I have a support system I didn’t know I would have — and I am eternally grateful to my college experience for helping me find that.
Love is a wonderful thing that can turn on a light when our mental rooms get too dark. Never let the Internet tell you that love is wrong or bad at any point in time. Decide for yourself, and always trust your heart. It won’t let you down.