Working with incoming first-years as a Link during their first few days on campus presents its own unique set of interesting situations. Questions shifted from navigating our limited campus to navigating an unlimited social scene. Most of the time, I responded with honest answers that any Colgate student would approve of. But the question “Why does Colgate have such a strong hookup culture?” proved to be a question that I not only asked myself countless times before, but also a question I didn’t have an answer to.
According to the “experts” at Urban Dictionary, hookup culture is defined as, “the era that began in the early 1990s and has since prevailed on college campuses and elsewhere when hooking up has replaced traditional dating as the preferred method of heterosexual liaison.” So basically, the majority of people at Colgate don’t date. Why is that? I don’t think it’s due to a lack of places to go on dates, or the character of the students that go here. After talking to some of my friends, and even some hookups of my own, it became apparent that people weren’t dating in the traditional sense because “the timing just isn’t right.”
Being a college student requires a significant time commitment on its own. Then, add in rushing a sorority or fraternity. And then club sports. And research. And traveling abroad. And don’t forget the Jug. Ultimately, a majority of people at Colgate claim to be too busy and too involved to devote themselves to a relationship. This rationale makes sense when you first hear someone explain it to you. But one thing we seem to forget in this story is the nature of life. No matter where you go to school, what you’re doing or where your life is taking you, there is never going to be a perfect time to simply start up a fulfilling relationship with your potential soulmate. Part of what makes relationships so meaningful and profound are the sacrifices you make to be with your partner.
So, are Colgate students really too busy to bother with relationships or is that just a cop-out that we tell our hookups to let them off easy? Several days after first posing this question to myself, I was talking to an upperclassmen in a fraternity. When he told me that he started dating his long-term girlfriend just weeks before Rush, I was shocked. Wasn’t this the worst time to commit yourself to someone? Aren’t you supposed to stay single if you’re joining Greek life? “It was really easy,” he told me. “She was my best friend and it just felt right. There’s no one I’d rather be with at any time.”
The phrase “at any time” really echoed in my mind. Timing is something that people use to justify why they can’t be with someone. But actually, it’s the reason why we invest ourselves into relationships. To spend time with that person. “Pretty simple,” I thought to myself.
After thinking about his response, I realized a couple of things. First off, I think that you need to acknowledge the difference between someone you may want to just hook-up with once or twice, and someone you want to bring around Parent’s Weekend. But once you do, don’t let the commitment of a relationship scare you away from someone who can support you, care for you and make you a better person. It’s one thing to not be ready for a relationship; it’s another to be scared of one. There’s never going to be a perfect time for dating. Life is crazy, and the unpredictable paths that we venture on never lead us to an expected destination. But, when you find the right person, they’ll be worth the sacrifices you make along that odyssey. And eventually you’ll realize that the time you spend with that person will be the only timing that matters.
Contact Helen Misiewicz at [email protected]