This time of year, you’d be hard pushed to find a shop, website or blog post that isn’t full of tips on finding love, or what to buy your partner for Valentine’s Day. Regardless of whether you’re single or loved up to the max, love is definitely in the air.
Dating at uni can be pretty simple, you meet someone on a night out, get cosy with them in the library and before you know it, you’re introducing them to your parents when they come to visit at easter. Whether it’s sending WhatsApps of you and your beau to your folks 3 weeks after your first date, or sneaking people into halls after you think your house mates are asleep, there are definitive ways to find love on campus. But be warned, it could turn out to be even harder than getting to a 9am Monday morning lecture. However it doesn’t have to be and here are the things you should consider?
First of all, whether you’re hunting through your uni rugby team or making eyes across a lecture theatre, everyone has to be on the same page. People have different attitudes towards dating at uni. Some want to have the steryotypical uni experience, making out with strangers in union clubs or dancing with the law society president until the lights come back on, and some people are eager to find someone to settle down with. Make sure you’re clear from the offset, no one wants to spend 3 years avoiding the person they dated in freshers only to discover they were more one night stand than one true love.
Next up, location, location location. Whoever you decide to cuddle up with, and wherever you decide to find them, location is going to be an issue. If you meet at uni you’re likely to be hauling your suitcase from one side of the country to the other when you visit them at home, and if you meet at home there is the ever looming realisation that, until those 3 years are over, you’ll be a tad far away between September and July. University of Central Lancashire graduate Stephanie says “If you’re at uni, don’t date someone who’s still back home. Disaster”, so remember to check if you’re both ready to travel. And don’t be scared to admit defeat if a 3 our train journey just isn’t for you, no one wants to be the only one hopping on the mega bus at 8 in the morning to see lover boy, particularly if you’re going to be preoccupied with coursework the whole time you’re there.
Which leads us quite nicely to my next point, studies. No matter what your parents may think about your nights out and 12:30 post seminar trips to the pub, you are at uni to get a degree. Finding your significant other on campus can make those 4 am hysterical calls about deadlines a lot easier to handle, especially seeing as they may be struggling too. UEA Environmental Science student Sarah Louise Clark said that studying at the same time as her boyfriend Aaron “cemented a relationship that we hope will continue forever” and that “It’s great to have someone who has been through a large amount of the ups and downs that come with going to university” Calling your girlfriend back home in the middle of the night to weep about deadlines, however, may not go down so well. If you choose to date a non student, make sure they know your studies are important to you, and that you’ll be 100% MIA during three weeks you spend locked in your room, living off of coffee and take out, leading up to exam season. Studies first, sex later.
And finally my last point, sex! Sex is great, sex is fun and, for the most part, a very low cost way of spending an evening. But are you really going to be able face your housemates after they’ve heard you trying to stifle the sound of an orgasm with a pillow? Sneaking around can add to the fun, but just remember to keep it safe, keep it quiet and whatever you do, don’t forget to lock your bedroom door!
It seems opinions are divided. UEA Literature student Claudia says it’s a big no no. “Don’t date at uni. Period. It ruined me”, whereas third year Nottingham Trent History student Maureen is very much in the yes camp. “I’ve dated at uni, and in a relationship now that is due to progress to engagement in the future. It’s not so bad. Had a few bad dates, had some awesome ones too”. Just be weary that “things have the potential to get intense super quick” says UEA American and English History student Penelope “you have you own place, don’t have to introduce them to your parents, can spend lots of time with them without those awkward meets. But also the potential for things to screw up real quick, at uni, everyone knows your business”. Either way, we hope your Valentine’s Day is more celebrating with the ones you love, be it friends or boyfriends, instead of drowning your sorrows in cheap beer and Ben and Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream.
* Names have been changed for privacy.