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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: Committing to a serious relationship in college can jeopardize your career goals

It seems as though everyone is in a relationship these days. Valentine’s Day is long past, so it’s not just the annual holiday hoopla; there are definitely more couples roaming the halls and Instagram feeds than singles these days. I guess that’s what happens when you hit 20, or teeter right below or above it. Many people view your twenties as the decade of life you must marry in, and it seems those same folks have no interest in procrastinating on that goal.

While long-term relationships have benefits that cannot be debated, there is general understanding that being single is somehow bad or less healthy that I would love to squash. When reading online about long-term relationships, I came across a peachy article titled “Stay Single, die younger, say scientists.” How wonderful.

While there may be certain physiological benefits to being in a loving relationship, there are benefits to being single as well.

Too often have I heard my friends call their aspirations “dreams” or “wishes,” when they could easily become realities. Finding a sense of comfort and home with another individual is truly a magnificent thing, but finding that same sense of comfort within yourself and your own life is equally as magnificent. It allows you to make decisions for yourself, and ultimately gives you a greater likelihood of making your dreams a reality — as overplayed and cliché as that sentiment is.

While some college relationships do foster a sense of independence and ambition, that’s usually not the case. So many careers require graduate schooling and internship experience before a position is even a possibility. It’s highly unlikely that the best possible graduate school for your field happens to be in the same place as your significant other, and even less likely that the job you’ll want will be in whatever location that is too. Life doesn’t simply begin wherever you want it to. That’s why it’s called chasing your dreams — they don’t sit still.

Those willing to move for their significant others do show a hearty sense of dedication — one that I certainly admire. But if moving means leaving a job and career of your own, or forgoing your higher education for someone else, that dedication becomes borderline stupidity — at this age. Developing who you are and working toward your goals while single is the best way to ensure there will be no resentment or animosity in whatever future relationships you pursue. And if long-term happiness really is the goal, I don’t see how compromising your short-term goals will help you achieve that.

There is something to be said for those willing to commit to long-distance or fight to the death to make their relationship work out. It’s what all the poems and songs are written about, and from personal experience, it’s a pretty intense situation. But if those same great lengths force you to lose time, money and sanity in attempting to communicate and please their partner, no matter where you are, your energy is still being diverted away from your personal goals. Those same goals that should be worked on before putting another person before yourself.

I understand it’s not that easy; you cannot simply put people in drawers for later, and you certainly cannot end something good just so maybe you’ll accomplish some of your dreams sometime in the near or distant future — the unknown is unsettling.

But if you find yourself compromising your goals, or your partner compromising theirs for you, think about how old you are and how much time you have to spend with a loving partner, versus how much time you are going to be able to spend being young and setting up a solid foundation, be it emotionally or professionally.  


Follow Stephanie Shaw on Twitter.


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