Going into University in a Relationship

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Love in college can be a tricky subject. In fact, for many relationships, college serves as a tipping point, either setting you up for the ultimate commitment or exposing flaws you never even knew were there. Going into a new school or a new semester with a boyfriend or girlfriend can be tricky, but you two can make it work by understanding what to expect and taking a few pointers on how to make it work.

 

Long Distance Relationships

What to expect:

Arguably the most common and hardest of all relationships to manage, the long distance can be a killer. You’ll have days when your schedule won’t line up at all, when you’ll have doubt or uncertainty, and your trust will be tested (especially if you’re both freshman). Even managing visiting schedules can be tough if you’re more than a drive away.

 

How to make it work:

Be open and honest, and set expectations from the get-go. If you decide your relationship should be exclusive, make sure your partner agrees. Plan out dates well in advance, including screen time, and do your best to be flexible with travel. Don’t let one person travel more than the other or expect them to give up family time to be with you when you are in the same locale. Flexibility is key.

 

Shared College Relationships

What to expect:

At some point, you’re going to want your space — but you might be afraid to say it. You might even grow tired of seeing one another, since distance or parents isn’t a problem. It’s hard to keep things fresh when you live in the same residence hall so you may have issues with repeating dates or a lot of nights in going through a Netflix binge.

 

How to make it work:

Make your own friends, schedule time apart, and keep communication lines open. Don’t be afraid to say when you’re in need of some alone or friend time. All healthy relationships are ones where you can be apart for some time but still in love. Try not to cling to what they like to do, and certainly don’t pick a major just because of them. Being your own, unique person in college is important to both your personal growth and that of your relationship.

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One Partner Back at High School or Already Graduated Relationships

What to expect:

You might miss a lot of signals and experiences. This is especially true if your partner hasn’t been through college yet and doesn’t really get the pressure or stresses like you experience them. You might miss out on a lot of their world too, like prom or a job promotion, because of school.

 

How to make it work:

Be patient with your partner, especially if he or she is having a hard time keeping up with your new and insanely busy lifestyle. Don’t expect them to always be on the same page as you or to have similar goals. If they’re a senior in high school, try to support them as they search for their school, but don’t pressure them to pick the place you’re at. If they’ve graduated, try to make the relationship as normal as possible without the pressure to constantly come back to campus to be with you. Meet them where they are — both physically and emotionally.

7 Ways to Cure Loneliness on Valentine’s Day

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cure loneliness on Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day can sometimes feel like a double edged sword. On the one hand, everyone can get behind a day dedicated to cute cards, loads of chocolate, and pink and red hearts. However, it’s hard to ignore that Valentine’s Day is pretty much meant for cute little kids and couples. But if you’re feeling a bit lonely this Valentine’s Day, have no fear. We’ve got you covered with 7 ways to cure loneliness on Valentine’s Day.

 

  1. Treat Yo’ Self

Bummed because flowers are for couples? Well, we’ve got news for you! Flowers, chocolates, cute pajamas, cards, and nights out to a fancy restaurant aren’t reserved on February 14 only for those in love. If you want it, go get it. Treat yo’ self like you’re your own Valentine.

 

  1. Group Together

It may seem like all your friends are with their partners, but there’s a good chance that you’ve got a friend or two feeling the single crush, too. Get them together and plan an evening out. Take over that hip new restaurant off campus or reserve a room in the student union for a movie marathon night.

 

  1. Make It About Love

In addition to your friends, you could always spend Valentine’s with those you love — your family. If you’ve got the free time and some cash to travel, make a quick trip home to spend Valentine’s Day with mom and dad. Or, think of those who may also feel lonely like a grandparent or older aunt and uncle. They too would love a night out or just a surprise visit from someone like you.

 

  1. Ignore It Altogether

February 14 can just be another day. Skip the red. Avoid romantic movies. And eat non-heart shaped chocolates. While it’s tough to just forget it, try to put a positive spin on it all by going about your business as usual. A change of mindset, even when difficult, can pull you through. (That, or just count down the hours until Valentine’s Day candy goes on sale.)

 

  1. Volunteer Your Time

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to give back to your community. Check your Student Affairs offices for ideas on how you can make a difference or if they have any ongoing projects you can join. Some ideas include working a Valentine’s Day dance at a senior community, snuggling with animals at a shelter, or crafting with an after school program.

 

  1. Embrace Being Single

Valentine’s Day can really paint singles in a negative light, but the truth is that being single has some mighty big pros. For example, you won’t have to struggle to get reservations to that overpriced restaurant or spend a fortune on a bouquet of flowers for someone else. Write your single self a love letter or a thank you note. You deserve it.

 

  1. Find a Singles Event

However, if your real desire is to get coupled up, Valentine’s Day may be a great opportunity to both cure loneliness and find a connection. Many colleges plan singles events such as mixers or speed dating. Put yourself out there and see where it gets you!

 

The Best Off-Campus Date Destinations For Each Stage in Your Relationship

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Dating in college can be tricky, because it’s hard to tell what other people’s priorities are in those beginning stages. Maybe they’re just looking for someone to hang out with casually. Maybe they’re just looking to try dating. Maybe they’re up for a serious relationship. Of course, even more importantly, you also need to consider what you want out of it! Thankfully, through this process, there are different options to pursue for each stage of the relationship.

offcampusdatingdest

No need to wait for the boy to initiate, for the girl to initiate, or for your friend to decide for you. Dating someone you like is supposed to be fun, but games are probably best kept out of it!

The “Let’s hang out sometime!” Stage

Oh boy. Doesn’t anyone know how to say “I’d like to go on a date with you” anymore? Maybe we’re past that bold statement and we’ve moved on to what’s easier. Or, maybe whomever is initiating this “hang out” is just trying to keep things moving slowly, feeling it out, and waiting to pick up on something from you. Whatever the reason, these casual first “hang outs” should be exactly that: casual!

Pick something simple that will allow for you two to talk and get to know each other before you start getting formal (yes, the dinner and movie can wait!). Maybe take a stroll around your nearby college town, check out that great coffee place downtown that all the locals flock to, or explore a nearby park or nature trail. These off-campus locations are low pressure, fun, and will allow for plenty of conversation!

Burlington VT - church st marketplace | Vermont 2012 | Pinterest

Church Street, Burlington VT

 

The “We’re together, but not serious yet” Stage

So you’ve made it clear that you’re interested in going somewhere with this, and you’re past those awkward “what are we?” discussions. Now it’s time to put a little more effort in! Planning something more “official” together, like a dinner out or a movie, shows the other person that you value the time you spend with them and can be a fun way of taking things to the next level.

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Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get fancy in any way! Going out to a great local pizza place, pub, or a valued hot-spot in your college town can be way more fun than the pressure of a fancy dinner!

The Serious, Long-term Stage

At this point, you’re probably happy and lucky enough that every outing feels like a date (awww)! But really, it’s true. Once you’re past the burdens of what you’ve always been told is a proper date (by your favorite middle school romantic comedies), you realize that you guys really can do whatever you want, and the fact that you’re both enjoying spending time together trying something new, exploring, and discovering new things about each other, is what makes it a date. So have fun, and always make sure to enjoy your time together, however you’re spending it!

One way I’ve always showed my boyfriend I care about him is by sharing my OCM care packages with him whenever my mom has sent them along on different holidays or occasions! And with midterms right around the corner for so many college students, now is an ideal time both to send and receive such packages.

 With the promo code BLOGGER10, you’ll save $10 off any order at OCM.com, good through July 1st, 2016! So be sure check out those care packages or any other goodies.

I hope you’ll share them with friends, and of course, your date!! Good luck, and have fun. <3

6 Date Ideas for On-Campus Couples

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As a college student, romance may be hard to come by. But for on-campus couples, all it takes to plan an amazing date on or off campus is a little creativity. Here’s just six of our favorite date ideas sure to please any on-campus couple.

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  1. A Little Bit of Culture

One of the best parts of being a college student is experiencing new things, and sharing those moments with a loved one makes it all so much more exciting. Many campuses offer “fun” classes for cheap or even free that allow you to try something new. Our favorites are learning a new language (like one of the love languages), cooking a Valentine’s Day treat, or even tackling a beginning guitar class. If classes aren’t your thing, try venturing out of your normal “go-to” places for a change. Our favorite stop are the campus theaters or performing arts centers where you can catch a theater production, listen to some great bands (for cheap!), or hear world-class music.

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  1. Free Art

Most campuses house student and alumni art in art galleries or even museums that are open to the public. Check out your community calendar for premiers of new works or just stop on by for a romantic stroll. You don’t have to know about art or even be an art major to appreciate and discuss the meaning behind pictures. Who knows? You may even find a new favorite artist or see someone’s work before they become the next Leonardo da Vinci!

  1. Stargazing

If you’re dating during the warmer months (or blessed to be studying somewhere where it’s always nice and warm), grab a blanket and head outdoors. Find a clear spot on the quad or off the beaten path where lights are their dimmest. Bring along a picnic dinner along with some tasty drinks, and enjoy nature at its absolute best. Stargazing can be incredibly romantic and a great icebreaker for a first or second date. If you are not the outdoorsy type, see if your campus has a planetarium or a telescope spot that anyone can enjoy.

  1. Sharing the Pride

The winter months are prime basketball season! You and your date will love cheering on your home team with the rest of your friends and alumni. To make it even more romantic, plan a silly dinner of stadium favorites like nachos and popcorn or tailgate together by face painting or making hilarious signs. Get there early to watch pre-game events and stay late to party it up when your time wins!

O'Connell Center, University of Florida

O’Connell Center, University of Florida

  1. Treasure and Scavenger Hunts

Want to really impress? Make a date that ends with a prize. Set up clues around campus by using friends or familiar spots. Add riddles or even physical challenges to keep things interesting. At the last stop, be waiting there for her/him with a surprise dinner in one of your favorite spots. They’ll love the challenge, especially if you incorporate moments from past dates or special memories. Want something less intensive? Try geocaching! It’s a free virtual scavenger hunt you can download on your phone or GPS device. Many colleges have several hidden geocaches right on campus that you can search for using coordinates and clues.

  1. Spreading the Love

Who says you have to spend your time doing something traditional? For your next date, plan to spend it sharing and caring for others. Some of the most memorable dates are when you work together to be in the service of others. Volunteer at local soup kitchen or food banks, host an evening of games at a senior citizens center, or take it outdoors where you can help keep a local river or nature preserve clean. The adrenaline rush of knowing you did something good together will keep this date idea fresh!

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Long Distance Relationships: Stay Connected!

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Doing the Long Distance Relationship Thing Successfully

Don’t be fooled: they’re not easy and, like a new Spanish professor, they take time to understand. But, ultimately, a long distance relationship is rewarding. If you truly care for the one you’re away from (which apparently you do, since you’re in such a relationship) then it shouldn’t be hard to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel… whether that means getting together in the summertime, over winter or spring break, or for the coming weekend.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard these pieces of dating advice before:

1) If it’s really meant to be, it’ll work out,

2) Don’t worry, every relationship has its ups and downs, and

3) Do whatever makes you happy.

Good advice, all. But there’s just one thing wrong with these generalities: they don’t really mean anything.

What you need is some solid, tangible advice to put into action; some real tips for making your relationship as smooth, loving and trusting as possible… because that, my friends, is the key. Below are a few ways to really show your boyfriend/girlfriend that they matter.

Communication

If you can’t be honest with each other, then what else is there? I’ll tell you, the weather. That’s it. And that sucks. (S)He doesn’t have to know every minute detail of your waking campus life, but it should be easy to share thoughts, ideas, compliments, frustrations and day to day observations with him/her. Chances are, if you’re holding back on these little things, you’re holding back on much more important things, as well. Here are some really easy ways to keep the lines of communication open:

  • Call. Whether you’re saying goodnight, calling just to say hello or to freak out about straight up acing that final exam, it’s always good to hear your reassuring gf/bf’s voice.
  • Leave voicemails. It’s so easy to hang up just as the automatic greeting comes on, but take those few extra seconds and leave a message. Instead of saying, “hey,  just calling to see what’s up” say something like, “just walked by [insert campus object here] and thought of you. Give me a call back when you get a chance because, well, you’re pretty and you rule.”
  • Send ‘Good Morning’ Texts. When you wake up, send her a good morning text message with some adoration and encouragement for the day ahead. It doesn’t have to be a long, complex love letter, just show her that she’s on your mind.
  • FaceTime. Today, most smartphones have video calling features. This is a game changer for long distance relationships. You can actually see the person you love right there in front of you!
  • Send a Letter or Package. This is super old-school, but a letter could be just what she needs to remind her how much you care. After all, hand written letters are more exciting to receive and feel more personal than an email or text message. Similarly, if (s)he’s really stressed over exams, send her/him an OCM care package with a note for some much needed encouragement.

Freedom

Communication is vital and so is respecting each other’s individuality. This is paramount to any relationship, but especially when it’s long distance. You’ll make your friends, she’ll make her friends, he’ll make his friends and so on. It’s human nature to connect. This is especially true freshman year when everyone is meeting each other for the first time. Don’t spend hours and hours in your room on the phone or crafting an immense email while your friends are out bonding and having a good time. Experience your new environment; don’t worry, you’ll have each other at the end of the day!

Visits

If you’re both from the same hometown and both heading home for break, visits are especially easy. You’ll be hanging out and doing fun things together until the cows come home, or until you have to head back. Bask in this time together; these moments will be great to think about when you’re separated again.

On the other hand, you may go to different schools and live in far-away cities, states or regions (I offer my sympathies to you brave souls). If this is the case, you can easily and affordably plan a trip to meet up over winter, spring or summer break. Whether you decide on a home visit or an adventure, sites like Student Universe and STA Travel make it easy to find student deals on flights, hotels and more.

And if you’re lucky enough to go schools that aren’t too far apart, hop on a Megabus or local train, and make a weekend trip. I promise you it’s worth it.

This is by no means a definitive guide to maintaining a sane, healthy long-distance college relationship. Every relationship is different, and those with 100+ miles between will especially encounter their own twists and turns but no matter what, all relationships take work. However, if you put in the time and effort, it will show and your relationship will thrive; your time apart will fly by; the moments you spend together will make the long phone calls, bus fares and lonely nights worth it.