Photo by Nicole Buckingham
Photo by Nicole Buckingham

College students tackle one tough exam after another, join extracurricular activities and some even balance a job all on top of that. But when it comes to the dating world, it is a never ending roller coaster ride of confusion. We are often stuck in the awkward phase of no longer being an immature high school student where we do not quite yet know what we are looking for, but are not yet out in the real world looking to settle down. We do not want to be immature about being in a relationship, but at the same time we are in the most important and fun years of our lives and being involved in a commitment with someone can be a little too scary sometimes. The most confusing thing about this situation is we never know where someone stands with relationships when we first meet them. We just assume everyone is stuck in this confusing in-between stage, this is where things get complicated.

The term “hooking up” comes into play a lot while in college and is quite frankly the root of this problem. First encounters with attractive strangers are not so innocent anymore. In elementary school, most of us thought of the opposite sex as carriers of cooties. Then in middle school, we seemed to have dated almost everyone in our grade–considering asking someone out was as easy as passing a note back and forth to confirm it. In high school, things were a little more serious. It was easy to meet someone through mutual friends or a class. You were attracted to them, but wanted to see where things could go. You started off slowly so nothing would get ruined along the way. In college, things move at a faster pace. When you first meet someone you are attracted to, you no longer have those innocent thoughts or shy feelings. You probably did not even meet them through such an innocent way. It is likely you met them at a party, or even through an app called Tinder. Then once you meet them, things start to escalate. This is where the term hooking up is used. Hooking up can mean different things to different people, but the bottom line is you do not wait to date someone to share that special butterfly feeling, first kiss with them like in high school. This time, you go way past that. Once you have hooked up with this person, you do not know what comes next. It is a mystery, and because of this, we feel that everyone in college is going through a phase of not knowing what they want to do.

Sometimes after such an encounter, you never talk to that person again. You might see them in passing and give a little wave, or do nothing at all. Maybe this situation gain you a new friend, or even a special kind of friend. These options just mentioned are for the types of people who are still just trying to have fun and enjoy college as a free person. They do not want feelings for someone to stand in the way of their future career goals or opportunities to go out and have a good time. After all, if you end up in a relationship with this person, you cannot have outings like this again. If you are on the other end of the spectrum, maybe the two of you realized there is something worth trying here. Maybe you moved pretty fast but, there is some sort of spark you never expected and want to see where it could take the two of you. After a hook up, you will get their number, continue to see them afterwards and go tell all your friends about it. However, with no one really knowing what direction hooking up with someone will take them, it just makes it confusing for both parties. Maybe both people want a relationship, but nothing is ever clarified because the intentions are not clear. With not knowing what the other person wants, it makes everything complicated. People hook up just to hook up and do not think much of what comes next. If a relationship comes out of it, it is a shock to just about everyone. This is the problem with relationships in college. The intentions of others are not clear. Opportunities could be missed because feelings are not spoken. Everything is done with such speed that the person you could possibly spend the rest of your life with just flashed before your eyes.

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