As a senior here at Northwestern, I have realized that we have a toxic dating culture on campus. Have you ever noticed how people ask about your relationship status before asking about your character or faith? Have you noticed how students on campus make their relationship status a defining aspect of their life and college careers? Have you noticed someone become depressed because they judge their personal character by their relationship status?
Maybe these instances only apply to my personal experiences on campus, but I find it quite annoying to see this toxic relationship culture on display at NW. I am not writing this article to bash people in relationships or to command people to singleness. I want to display, the benefits of singleness in college. I hope someone can learn from my personal experiences in singleness! Moreover, I want to pass on what I have learned to those who feel the need to be in a relationship but cannot find the right person, leading to a state of depression.
I want to emphasize that God has got your back. God has already defined and planned your life according to His purpose. He may already have someone picked out for you. That person may be a million miles away, which is totally fine. I encourage you to utilize this college stage of life. Work on forming a stronger relationship with Christ, and get to know who you are as a person. I know this is hard to hear, but your future is on God’s time, not your own. You are not less of a person because you are single. Your relationship status does not define who you are, so stop making your worth depend on it. Have Christ be what validates you. This is something I wish I could tell my younger self, because it would have saved me a lot of time and energy.
Despite what it seems, there are a plethora of benefits to being single at NWC. First, think of your singleness as a freedom to do what you want (in a God-appropriate manner) without the pressure of a relationship. Sign up for SAC events, join clubs on campus, get a job or internship, go to sports games, serve on mission trips, study abroad or hang out with the homies on weekends without worrying. You are on your own time, not mixing with another person’s schedule. I know I am single-splaining right now, but without my singleness, I would not have been able to do all of these “absofruitly peachy” things.
Secondly, singleness is cheap. As one of my friends stated last week, “having a girlfriend is expensive.” I know this to be true for both sides. As a college student, life is expensive! Now add another person to your life that you buy gifts, meals and more for. Instead of spending cash on another person, use this extra money to buy new clothes (RIP me), an extra scoop of ice cream at Blue Bunny, a burrito at La Juas or pay for college (which would be the smarter, but less desirable option).
Third, singleness allows you to more easily achieve your personal goals. Being single, I have used my extra time to focus on my fitness and academic goals, becoming a healthy and smart individual who hopes to achieve the status of a “Greek Philosopher King” (Plato). I have not only surpassed what I thought I could achieve physically in four years, but I have taken additional college classes. These courses have helped me think critically and challenge what I believed when I first came to college. I can do the same for my students at my student-teaching placement. I achieved all of these goals at my convenience without the added pressure of another person in my life.
Finally, because of my singleness, I can teach and live wherever after college (this is the greatest benefit in my opinion). I don’t have to worry about this affecting another person. This opens up a whole new realm of opportunity that dating life cannot give.
Again, I am not trying to bash people in relationships. I am also not commanding people to be single. I merely want to offer some benefits of singleness and encourage those who judge themselves too harshly because of their singleness. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.