High school is, universally, the prime time for being boy-crazy. All you can think about is landing yourself the hottest arm candy before anyone else does—and once you do, you daydream about how cute you’ll look at prom together, think of almost nothing but them, and ceaselessly doodle their last name after your first name (just to see how it looks, of course).
Then you move on to post-secondary, the three or four years of your life that will essentially shape your career. Remember saying to your friends in high school, “I can’t wait until we’re in college and we can date real men!”? When life after high school hits, you realize that you should probably shift your focus from daydreaming about boys to figuring out what you’re going to do with your life.
Throughout the four years I spent in post-secondary education, I had friends that were in serious relationships from day one to the day they graduated. This works for some people, but I personally had a few relationships go up in flames throughout high school. I wasn’t closed off to the idea of finding a super cool college boyfriend, but it wasn’t my priority.
I was never a girl who couldn’t imagine my life without “my other half,” and was taught from an early age that friends, family, and education take priority whether there’s a guy in your life or not. Being raised like this, I couldn’t help but get annoyed when my friends would choose their boyfriends over me, or couldn’t go to a college pub night without their other half attached to their hip. I mean, I get it, when you’re in love you want to spend every waking minute with your significant other. We’ve all been there. But I couldn’t help but feel that these friends were missing out on their college experience.
“Taking these four-ish years of your life to be selfish and focus on yourself isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s actually really awesome.”
I don’t mean that college should be all about hooking up with a different guy every night, waking up feeling gross and confused, then dreading the walk of shame from dorm room to dorm room. But taking these four-ish years of your life to be selfish and focus on yourself isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s actually really awesome.
It’s not like I completely avoided boys altogether, mind you—I definitely had crushes, went on dates, and had brief moments of thinking, “He may be the one,” and I definitely didn’t appreciate being single all the time. But now I realize the benefits it had on me. Not only did being single allow me to learn how to do things for myself, but it taught me so much not only about myself, but about what’s important in life. Instead of wasting my time crying over heartbreak, I spent my time building friendships that I maintain to this day. Instead of putting energy into making someone else happy, I put energy into figuring out what made me happy—in my personal and professional life.
I can’t say that by being single throughout college completely set me up for the success I have today, but had I been distracted by a guy, I know that I wouldn’t have been as focused on attaining success and finding a career that I love. I probably wouldn’t have seen so much of the world had I waited until it was the right time to do it with someone by my side, and I can’t say that I would have focused on keeping in touch with my friends and family as much if I had someone who I could always count on as a social replacement.
“Instead of putting energy into making someone else happy, I put energy into figuring out what made me happy—in my personal and professional life.”
Maybe I’m wrong for thinking all this, but I have so many friends who’ve been in serious relationships for as long as I’ve known them who tell me (by no means with regret) that they wish they could travel, or they wish they had a job like me, or they wish they had the career opportunities I’ve been given. News flash—I’ve made all of these things happen for myself, and yes, it’s because I’ve been selfish and prioritized my life differently.
So I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you should avoid every guy that looks your way like the plague, but I will tell you that for all you single ladies and men out there, being single during your younger years isn’t the end of the world. Learning how to walk on your own two feet before adding someone else beside you isn’t a bad thing—in fact, it’ll probably make whatever relationship you have in the future that much stronger. So embrace the single life, ladies and gents! Embrace the single life.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.