At varying points throughout our freshman year, a few of my friends and I experienced the almost always inevitable end to the high school relationships that we tried to carry into college.
It’s a nice idea, thinking that your shared high school experiences and “all the crazy stuff you’ve been through together” is enough to keep the two of you going strong when one of you leaves for college or you both choose different universities. For a lucky few, it does work out that way. But for most of us, we get into the swing of adult life and too many things change for that one relationship to stay the same. There are a lot of different reasons for this; some of the most prominent being that your scope of possibility widens exponentially once you get to college, you find a new horizon to look towards, or you simply want to experience this new chapter in your life without thinking twice or feeling held back.
Personally, I had a really hard time letting go of the guy I was still dating just over halfway through my first semester at CSU. I was in a new place, away from family and old friends and he was what I knew I could cling to when I felt out of my element. That was exactly the problem, though. In my mind, knowing I had that relationship to fall back on kept me safe, but in reality, it kept me from connecting with potential lifelong friends and stepping outside my comfort zone. In college, it’s important to be pushed out of your element every once in a while: I failed to see that. Too often, I hear people say things like “I can’t (insert super fun college thing here) because I have to Skype my boyfriend/girlfriend back home,” or “I don’t think my boyfriend/girlfriend would want me to (insert super fun college thing here).”
An article about the considerations of taking a high school relationship with you to college from the Huffington Post says, “Will your boyfriend or girlfriend understand what you’re going through? If you’re heading towards radically different places in life, they might not … A year might not feel like a big age gap, but when one person is in college and one is in high school, it can feel like you’re living in two separate worlds … How would you react if you saw a Facebook photo of your high school sweetheart looking very flirty with someone else? Or if your texts went unanswered for hours? On the flip side, what would happen if you met someone you instantly clicked with at a college party?”
These are all valid points that can cause serious strain on a relationship, and the most important thing to realize is that even though it hurts because of the time that has passed and the history between you and your high school lover, sometimes letting go is the only way to truly set each other free and show that you really do want the best for one another. Looking back on it, partially because hindsight is 20/20 but also because college has gifted me with a stronger sense of enlightenment, I was clinging to a sinking ship that was not only holding me back from making connections with this campus and the wonderful people here, but also from getting to know myself and learning about all of the things that I want and don’t want.
When in doubt, move on and don’t feel bad about choosing what you think is going to benefit you in the long run. If you ever feel that you are allowing yourself to be held back by a romantic relationship, don’t think twice about getting out of it. You are, and always will be, your number one.
Collegian Columnist Haleigh McGill enjoys aggressive games of Catch Phrase and perusing crop circle for signs of alien life forms. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @HaleighMcGill.