Hello, and welcome to Colgate University! I’ll be your friendly neighborhood relationship columnist. I’m new to this position, so bear with me for this first, and somewhat predictable, column. The advice might be boring and rather mom-ish, but some of you really need to hear it.
Speaking of moms (and dads): please do not send me angry e-mails about this column. Your children know all about my topic and perhaps it would be wiser to face the issues and complications that partnerships (of all kinds) bring up rather than letting them fester. The results might prove worse if we practice the latter as opposed to the former.
In this maiden column, I shall be handing out some unsolicited advice, particularly aimed at the Class of 2012. The first of which might be to use condoms. See, parents? I’m totally on your side here. They are FREE at the health center. There is a tiny little basket at reception that used to be filled with candies, and now you will locate rubbers there instead. Lower in calories!
The second piece of advice would be to use lots and lots of caution. College is a brand new environment and that means your old standards of judgement are moot and void. This could mean that tools might not register on your formerly calibrated tool-o-meter. (“Hey baby, come back with me to Stillman tonight.” It starts with STI for a reason.) Being in a new place means reinvention and it will most likely be a significant amount of time before all of the new personalities are all shaken out. This also means that the really worthy people are still developing.
These changes are not easily managed. And they complicate relationships threefold. Firstly, you may wind up dating a total jerk and not realize it. This is an obvious one. And, naturally, no one wants to date a jerk. Another complication is that, when all of the change finally settles, you just may plain not like each other, and then you’ll be faced with a super ugly breakup. Not only do breakups seriously suck, but this may have some serious repercussions on your social circle. Most couples, when formed early on in freshman year, share the same groups of friends. This can make gatherings particularly awkward. This effect is grown exponentially if the friends have chosen sides and explodes should you chose to hook up with another friend afterward.
One last word on the subject of early relationships, and this one is thoroughly approved of by parents. By tying yourself down to another person so early in college, you may be preventing yourself from truly developing. You should give yourself plenty of room to grow, and this may require telling your boy/girl friend to step off or simply keeping things casual for a while. Perhaps you should wait until, say, October break or even Thanksgiving before giving someone a permanent spot on your, ahem, dance card.
Now that I can be expecting angry letters from people who have been dating the same person since the first week of freshman year along with the uptight parents, it’s time to wrap up this column. Next week, we shall be tackling Jug etiquette! Just the moment you have all been waiting for! In the mean time, use condoms.