I remember when I told some of my older friends I was moving to Chicago for college. I had never had any dating relationships in high school, and I was leaving for college, single as ever.
“Oh, just you wait, Abi. You will meet someone in your first year. I bet you will be dating by the next summer,” they told me, half-joking, half-serious.
While I have not come to UIC looking specifically for a relationship, I laugh about that conversation now. Here I am, a junior in college, having gone through the last two years of college without even the slightest possibility of a romantic interest.
Granted, my life has been incredibly full without it. I love my friends, my job(s), and especially all the time I have had to grow and understand myself. I wouldn’t have asked for my first two years at UIC to be any other way.
But I was curious. I have so many single college friends. How do they feel? I opened up the dialogue Monday in the Pier Room, and I got some hilarious and insightful responses:
“According to you, what are the benefits of being single, and what are the challenges?” I asked.
Friend 1: “More time! In today’s culture, especially for women, they feel they have to do so much to go after guys, or like put so much effort into the relationship, or even take care of the guy they’re with. That’s just a whole thing I don’t have to worry about, which is super cool.”
The positivity was impressive. It was not the same for all my friends, however.
Friend 2: —-
“Nothing good at all?” I asked.
Friend 2: “Emotions are terrible. I roll my eyes every time I like someone, because it just occupies so much of my time.”
Emotions seem to be a dreaded affliction in a college student’s life.
“What about you?” I turned to my next friend. By the expression of his face, this topic hit a bit close to home.
Friend 3: “You get to work on yourself,…you get to grow as a person…”
“Ok, ok… some nice brief responses,” I laughed. “So what is challenging?”
Friend 3: “When you like someone, they never really like you back… That is me all my life… and the fact that you can never know if someone feels the same… it’s like an emotional tempest.”
Tempest. An emotional whirlwind. On top of the insanity of trying to configure our futures, the added internal pressure we place in trying to find our “soulmates” in the allotted four years we have at the university. No wonder why catching “feelings” can become unbearable.
Nevertheless, what is the point, quite honestly, of all of this pressure? What is the point of internalizing feelings and spending each day feeling all melty? Dear friends, let yourself feel. Let yourself experience. Allow yourself to enjoy… yourself! Let this be a reminder that we have an entire life ahead of us. You have a fantastic amount of time left. Go out there, make cool friends, and know that I am rooting for you! We’ve got this.
Abigail Floresca is a junior majoring in criminology, law and justice with a minor in professional writing. Writing is how she connects, processes, expresses and relates to the rest of the world. Increasingly aware of the power of storytelling in bringing about change and reform, Abigail earnestly seeks to find a way to incorporate a perfect blend of writing and social work within the criminal justice system — she dreams of bringing about a positive change, one story at a time. At UIC, she is involved in campus ministry; conducts research with the criminology, law and justice department; interns with the Chicago Justice Project, and loves exploring new places downtown.