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Dating? What Is That? – What Dating In College Has Taught Us

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College is… an interesting experience.

Between both of us, we’ve both had very different experiences in college. Like, opposite ends of the spectrum different. This affected pretty much every part of our individual “college lives”, and dating was no exception. Of course, if you’ve been following us for a little while, you know that we also met when we were both in college. Don’t worry, we’ll unpack that experience too. So let’s get into it.

Dating(?) in college – Hannah

Honestly, can I even call it dating? It’s Hannah, and I’m here to talk about my first year of college, or college before I met Ariana. If you haven’t heard the full story, you can watch our YouTube video where we talk about how we met here. The gist is that we met at the end of my spring semester of my freshman year of college, and I had been single in college up until that point. Well, mostly.

I broke up with my high school boyfriend at the beginning of the school year, which means that I was in a relationship for the first two months of college (I also talk about it here). But after that, I was free! However, even though I was cleared to go wild and crazy, I didn’t really “date” in college. I did go on a date with a boy that I knew wasn’t going anywhere, and I also made out with the same girl at a few different parties. But that’s pretty much the extent of it.

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My first year in college was more about self-discovery than about being single.

Honestly, I had a lot of trouble identifying who I was, and what I even wanted out of another person. It wasn’t until I joined Tinder in the spring that I really started to have fun with getting to know other people and “dating”.

I always thought I would be the type of person to date around and live my best life as a single person. In high school, I wanted the freedom to date people, hook up with people, and explore. But when I got the opportunity, I just didn’t feel like it. I think those seven months of being single were immensely important for me. Even though it sounds like such a short amount of time, it taught me a lot about what I needed. Once I could do whatever I wanted, it surprised me how little I actually wanted to do. And that was totally okay for me.

Well, I know now that it was totally okay for me. At the time, I felt like I was in limbo. I felt like I had no direction, no solid sense of self, and no real purpose or desires. I felt like no one knew me, not even myself. And I didn’t really feel any sense of connection with people around me.

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When I met Ariana, it was the first time I felt sure about another person.

After we had been texting, I was determined to meet her in person and to spend time with her. Getting her to go on a date with me was a huge accomplishment, but it was also a landmark in my self-discovery. I felt more certain about myself – who I was, what I liked, and what I wanted. The certainty that I felt when I met her was a complete 180 from any other “dating” experience I had had.

College is weird, especially when you go to a school that’s as much of a bubble as mine is. You get trapped by first impressions, and by other people’s perceptions of you. I didn’t feel like I knew myself anymore, and I was trying so hard to get to know myself that I didn’t have room to invest in other people. But finding the right person changed that, and dating Ariana helped me rediscover myself.

Dating? Eh. College? Maybe. – Ariana

My experience with dating in college is all over the place. Unlike Hannah, I didn’t have the full on college experience. I went to community college for 2 years and that was…. weird. If you guys don’t already know, I was homeschooled in high school from my sophomore year through senior year. I graduated high school in 2013, and I went straight to community college in the fall of 2013.

After being homeschooled for 3 years, I was extremely nervous, but mostly excited to be back in a traditional school environment. Because I was homeschooled, I was mostly isolated from age appropriate social gatherings, so this made it hard to meet new people. During my 1st year at community college, I discovered that I was struggling with an intense amount of social anxiety. I wasn’t sure how to act, speak, or feel in social environments. I never had problems with making new friends, but that didn’t stop my social anxiety.

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The truth is, dating in community college was difficult for me.

I didn’t feel comfortable walking up to girls I thought looked interesting, so I didn’t. I turned to social media to meet people in my immediate area and not so immediate area. Dating online seemed easier for me than to walk up to girls and shoot my shot that way. I would meet people through various social media sites such as Tumblr and Twitter.

Over the course of 3 years (2013-2016), I exclusively met new people online. Although, they mostly went nowhere. My dating experience was slim to none because I didn’t have much success with dating online. I met a lot of new people, but I didn’t form any lasting relationships. To sum it up, dating online allowed me to meet new people consistently while managing my social anxiety. It didn’t feel real, but it was better than isolating myself completely from meeting new people.

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Let’s fast-forward to when I met Hannah.

Hannah and I met in April of 2016 and that was a new experience for both of us. Although I had experience dating and meeting people online, Hannah had zero. All of her relationships were formed in person. When I met Hannah, I felt like I was having a college experience. At this time, I was taking online classes, so I was no longer in a college setting. Hannah lived on campus and we would spend a lot of time in her dorm room living the college life. I felt like I was having a college experience while exclusively dating her. I can positively say after dating Hannah while she was living on campus, I am happy I didn’t have a traditional college experience. My anxiety would have been through the roof. But we do have some great memories on her campus, so I’m happy we met when we did.

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So, what did I get from dating in college?

I talked to people and met a lot of new people while in college, but it was mostly unfulfilling. Between 2013 and 2016, I learned more about myself than I ever have. I had some pretty bad experiences with dating and those experiences taught me a lifetime’s worth of lessons. I was young (I still am) and I’m happy those experiences happened when they did. I’m 23 years old now, and I’m no longer in college. If it weren’t for those cringy college dating experiences, I probably wouldn’t have met Hannah. By the time I met Hannah, I was able to figure out what I did and didn’t want to do differently with her. So, is dating in college so bad? I guess it depends on who you ask and what their experiences are like with dating in college.

That’s all for today folks.

Until next time,

Ariana & Hannah

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