Your love life affects your transcript

Your relationship goals might unexpectedly influence your professional goals

Students are endlessly being given advice for college success. We are told to network, join clubs, get a job. The list is infinite and often confusing and contradictory. However, there is one aspect of the college experience that students are given relatively little advice on: dating.

Dating is a major part of the college experience. Many people are in a relationship at one point or another in those four years, and they may even meet their spouses on campus. Still, it may not be the best idea to actively seek a serious relationship in college.

Before you set your sights on that perfect long-term relationship, you should consider your ambitions and aspirations. While serious relationships can be a positive experience in college, they can often conflict with your goals.

It’s important to decide whether a relationship in college will encourage and advance your professional and academic goals.

Being in a committed relationship in college has benefits. They can provide significant support and encouragement in your daily life. At the same time, a fulfilling and healthy relationship also requires a lot of time and energy. It's easy for these relationships to become your main focus, while your professional and academic success are less prioritized.

“(Dating) is a great way to build connections that may stay with you the rest of your life,” Kevin Burns, director of strategic initiatives at the W.P. Carey Career Center, said. "Any kind of support we can get from any relationship is a great thing to have as long as it’s a positive relationship.”

Relationships can also create an unhealthy sense of comfort. Often times, the familiarity of the relationship can hold you back from pursuing certain things, like leadership positions or club memberships. It's easy to sink into your comfort zone instead of pushing yourself to do something a little scary.

“Relationships require individuals to be who they are." Burns said. "If all you do is live in your relationship, you are not going to have anything to talk about (as you grow older). (Relationships) are what you make of it. You can either make it a supportive experience, or let it hold you back.”

While some may want to stay in the same state where they attend college, many students desire to leave their college town to pursue a career in a bigger city with more opportunities. This can be difficult if you’re in a serious relationship.

It is common for those in a serious commitment to be offered opportunities in different locations. This puts some serious stress on the relationship, as you are faced with a difficult choice. You must either break it off, pursue a long distance relationship or put a job opportunity on the backburner.

Another major issue that comes with dating is the break up. Break ups can be devastating, especially if that person was your main source of support. The end of a relationship can trigger anxiety and depression — making it difficult to stay motivated or keep up your energy.

College is a time to experiment and enjoy new experiences. Committing to a relationship can sometimes hold you back from these experiences by tethering you to one person.

Ultimately, it's important to step back and consider whether or not pursuing a long term relationship in college is good for you.

If you assess your goals and set boundaries, you will be able to decide what you want out of the commitment, and what you are willing to sacrifice. This will in turn facilitate healthier relationships and a more positive college experience.

Reach the columnist at or follow @skyjordan4 on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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