I’ve a friend who constantly asks me whether I’ve found someone at uni. I always laughed it off and considered it as part of our usual banter. But recently it did get me thinking – should I be worried?
I think the common assumption is that university is the place where you’ll find your partner. And maybe that’s true. I’ve seen many couples form in my hall (#whitakercupids) and they do seem pretty happy together. But there exists on the other hand some of us who hurry back and forth from uni by ourselves, who hang out in a huge ‘friend group’ and not necessarily one-on-one.
Insecurities did surface when I first entered uni. I started worrying about how I looked. Brought up with a happy-go-lucky attitude towards life, I never really cared before that. But – this was uni. And that motivated me to start going to the gym. (More on that in a later blog post). I started caring more about how I dressed and even started wearing skirts, something I had previously shunned (had a rebellious feminist attitude). But, I soon realized that there was a despairingly lack of guys in social work to impress. So I slipped back into my comfortable tramping thermals and gratefully cancelled out the need to buy new shoes from my mental to do list.
Sometimes, it gets hard to fight back the voice that says, ‘There must be something wrong with you if you are single’. I listen to music when I need to get through the monotonous chores in life (like clearing emails) and the music never refuses to remind me that ‘I need you, I need you, I need you right now’. It made me subconsciously buy in to the idea that I need a ‘You’ or a ‘Him’ or a ‘Her’ in my life.
(Sidenote on music: this is my current fav because of its backpacker vibe! :D)
And I won’t say that I’ve learnt to deal with that, because sometimes the music hits a weak spot and my vulnerability crops up again. And that explains the occasional 1am green dot that appears beside my name on Facebook (that is a HUGE anomaly for me). That doesn’t happen often, no worries.
But I’ll just say that I’ve had to give myself a lot of arguments before I can convince myself that it is okay to be single as a university student. It’s realizing that there’s so much going on that tells us that ‘there’s something wrong if you are not with someone’ when there’s actually, really nothing wrong with you.
In fact, I feel that a lot of my mental energy was freed up when I shifted away from my insecurities over the month. I could focus on gymming for my well-being, making decisions without needing to consider the need to impress and feeling less pressurized to go shopping for clothes.
Sometimes, waves of loneliness do hit. I’ve learnt though to sit at the dining table for a longer period of time when that happens and laugh my heart out with my cutiepies. And I’ve learnt to treasure the stretches of solitude where I can just focus on the task at hand, like writing this blog post or completing a 50% weightage essay on the Treaty of Waitangi.
It takes a lot to resist the idea that I feel lonely because ‘someone’ is not present when actually, it is myself not knowing how to deal with myself.
I’d just like to end by saying that this is by no means a post meant to give advice on love. This is though a tiny documentation of my thoughts on a common but unspoken insecurity that I’ve experienced in uni.
P.S. If you’re looking for expert advice, let me give you a hint. Your parents are the best people for a tête-à-tête on love. *winks*