Ah, Northwestern College. I’m in my second year, and things are still going amazingly well. I mean, aside from being buried in the work of upper-level classes, and thus too busy to have a social life. I still love this place so much, and I’m constantly telling people I could not have found a better school to attend.
As a student ambassador, I get to show visiting students what it’s like to live here at NW, and that’s what I love most about my job (although the paycheck is a nice bonus for a poor college student). The highs and lows of being an ambassador come when I can see I’ve convinced a student they should attend NW, and when I must understand they have another school in mind. Either way, I do my best to tell them what I love about this school.
But there comes a point in every meeting when I’m left thinking, “Okay, so I’ve told them all of my favorite things about this school. Now what? What is there about NW that I may not like?” Honestly, I’m hard-pressed to find things I dislike about this place. There is, however, one subtly-obvious thing that really irks me, and that’s the atmosphere surrounding relationships.
The pressure to be in a relationship, unintentionally placed on single people, is almost tangible in the air. This comes in the form of constantly witnessing the relationships of best friends, phrases like “Ring by Spring” and “M.R.S. degree” being thrown around, and the feeling that two people of the opposite gender can’t walk down the sidewalk without others assuming something is going on. Even the existence of the “October Rule” points to this – we wouldn’t have it if we didn’t “need” it. The anticipation and excitement of a potential relationship gets to many of us.
NW, as a small, Christian bubble, gives off a “standard expectation” that you should be in a relationship with someone, and if you aren’t then you’re doing something wrong. I’ve talked about this with my friends, some in relationships and others single, and they can feel this too. This is literally the only reason I have for saying anything negative about NW, and it makes me tell my family, “You know, NW can sometimes really stink.”
Now of course, I am super excited at the thought of someday having the opportunity to love someone with everything I am. Although, that doesn’t mean I want to jump into a relationship with just any girl. Girls have cooties, and that’s that. I believe one’s greatest chances of finding the person they will marry will come from just participating in things they love to do and finding their person in the midst of that. NW is a pretty good place for that. But too often people go about the ‘dating realm’ in the wrong way. I wish we could come to see this relationship-status in a new light.
Now, if you’ve read this far and are convinced I’m condemning relationships, then reread the part where I said I’m excited for my own relationship someday. You’ve missed my point. No, relationships are not bad, and neither is being single. They’re simply different. They both have their advantages and disadvantages.
I think it’s mainly a matter of what season of life you’re in. Some people have waited and taken a long time to prepare their heart for a beautiful relationship. Others, like myself, have spent a majority of their time since freshman year of high school in and out of more relationships than they’d like to admit.
NW is the place to see relationships thrive; however, the next time you see one of your close friends spending time with someone of the opposite gender, don’t jump to conclusions don’t feel like you’re failing if you aren’t doing the same thing. Not every guy-girl duo is in a relationship. Now, let’s take the time as young adults to realize the difference.