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Layne Ruda

Dating: Love in the Time of Hookup Apps

After spending four years in and out of high school relationships where the extent of dating is holding hands while walking each other to class and putting your partner’s name in your Twitter bio, you are now at a larger school with a new sea of faces and a spectrum of relationships. This is your roadmap to navigate three major categories that your new relationship is likely to fall into.

Keepin’ it casual

In his article, “Sexual Hookup Culture: A Review,” Justin R. Garcia of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University reports that, “a combined 81 percent of undergraduate respondents engaged in some form of hookup behavior.” Hooking up is a relationship with a partner without involving feelings; it’s typically a sexual relationship. Dating apps and social media are two popular places to meet partners. Intentions can be communicated without making things uncomfortable within a friend group or a classroom. Your friends at school will have their own friends and as long as tides are calm between you, your friends and your partner, there’s no harm in casual sex. Communicate to your partner that the situation isn’t working out and you would like to put an end to things. This can get tricky if your partner is present in your everyday life; however, without commitment, there isn’t much justification for bad blood as long as you do the respectful thing and communicate with them.

Dating Apps. Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.

If you’re meeting a partner off of social media, let a friend know. Text them where you’re going, or who is coming over, along with an address and a screenshot of your partner’s social media profile. Keep your friend updated once an hour and set a time limit for them to take action if they don’t hear from you. If your partner is involved in your friend group, ensure all of your friends are alright with the relationship because it’s never worth throwing  away a friend for just casual sex.

Deciding who to start dating

In his article “A Million First Dates” published in The Atlantic, Dan Slater shares a conversation with a friend, Jacob, where Jacob explains, “Each relationship is its own little education…You learn more about what works and what doesn’t…I’m not jumping into something with the wrong person, or committing to something too early.” Commitment in college can be scary, and it’s alright to not be ready to dive into a relationship with somebody. You go on dates, you hold hands and people know that, to some extent, you two are an item.

It’s a relationship without the pressure of a label or the intimidation that can come with commitment in your late teens/early 20s. Start a conversation with a person you’re interested in that sits near you in class or by discussing common interests in a club. Stay away from people you know because it can be tricky to have a partner in this stage in your friend group, because although there isn’t commitment, there are still feelings involved. Because feelings are involved, communicate them to your partner and be honest with what you want and where your feelings are at, and do what is best for you.This stage is the gray area of relationships and to ensure you and your partner are taking the same steps where it will influence your status, communication is key. Find a term that is well-known and establish terminology when beginning this relationship that is easy to explain to a wide demographic and is also comfortable for you and your partner.

It’s Facebook official

Cara Newlon of USA Today reported that a Facebook Data Scientist study released in 2013 found that about 28 percent of married graduates attended the same college as their spouse. Even in the generation of hooking up and dating apps, romance on campus is not dead. When you’re in a relationship, there is exclusivity with you and your partner, using concrete terms like boyfriend and girlfriend. There are intentions to grow with your partner and there is permanence in your relationship.

Relationships can begin in a plethora of ways, from friends to social media to meetcutes at Jimmy John’s. If you’re interested in someone, never hesitate to make a move and keep in mind that the worst they can say is no. If you want to end things, be honest, be open, and be kind. Remember that you’re only in college and you have time to grow independently and you’ll meet people along the way. If you attend school with your partner, you’re prone to run into them. Try to avoid people who live in your building in case things have a rocky ending. These are pivotal growth years, so to maintain your independence in your relationship and remember you don’t have to share all of your interests with your partner. Also, make time for your friends throughout your relationship. It can be easy to isolate yourself from people that aren’t your partner, but try to set aside at least a night a week for your friends.

Dating Today. Image Courtesy of Shutterstock.

In this generation, dating is more complex than it once was. There are a spectrum of terms and statuses your relationship could fall on. Although this culture is experiencing constant growth, at the core of any relationship lies communication and honesty, and with those two things in your pocket, you can navigate through any relationship.

This piece is sponsored by Morgasm

See Also:

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Looking back on your first love

How to Conquer Exam Anxiety

It’s 8:57 and your American Literature exam begins at 9:00. You’re tapping your pencil on the desk running through symbolism in The Scarlet Letter when you remember to pass this class with an A, you need to score at least an 83 percent on the exam, otherwise you’re looking at a B in a major-specific course. You’ve read the novel and you’ve completed the seven-page final essay. Yet, the second the exam is dropped on your desk, you freeze. Your heart starts to beat a bit faster and your stomach turns. Months of preparation are slipping, while exam anxiety takes its place.

What are the causes?

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) defines General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) as “persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things” breaking down that “eight percent of children and teenagers experience an anxiety disorder with most people developing symptoms before age 21.” Keep in mind throughout the article that these are blanket statistics and anxiety affects students to different degrees.

The ADAA lists three major causes of exam anxiety: fear of failure, lack of preparation and poor test history. Final exams carry much weight to them, in some cases they can make or break a final grade, which causes anxiety in students. While some students perform best under pressure, others equate their grades to their self-worth, especially when it comes to exams in their field. A lack of preparation is plausible, especially when full-time students take around 20 credit hours of classes, and it can be difficult to prepare adequately for exams with an average workload. Lack of preparation also derives from poor study habits where information is not being retained because of a negative environment or distractions. Having a history of poor exam grades or experiences can influence a student’s perception of exams and cause anxiety for upcoming tests.

The physical impact

Aside from these mental causes, there are large physical impacts exam anxiety can have on a student. These include nausea, lightheadedness, headaches and can elevate to panic attacks where students have a hard time breathing and reach immense physical discomfort. Anxiety can also cause negative emotions, and it can go hand-in-hand with depression. With exam anxiety, students can become angry, sad, irritable and disappointed in themselves, which can cause a layer of emotional stress on top of exam anxiety. These causes can culminate into cognitive issues as the exam creeps closer, such as difficulty concentrating when studying due to worry about the exam itself.

Methods to ease anxiety

However, it is 2019 and mental illnesses are now widely acknowledged as well as a variety of solutions to help relieve some of the symptoms and the hardships, at least temporarily. A very easy method that can help get your head into a different space is to take a walk. When you’re studying, take a five-minute break to walk around your building and clear your mind of the test. If you need a longer break, although they may be communal, showers help to decompress your muscles by allowing hot water to run on your shoulders for a few minutes. Finally, there is always music at your fingertips. Whether you need something soft to soothe you, or you need something to crank to let any bad energy release from your body, you have a spectrum of music to help you destress before coming back to your study material.

If you’re in the middle of a test, take a quick walk to the bathroom to break contact from the material and approach it with a fresh set of eyes, like hitting the reset button. If you’re not allowed to leave the testing room, close your eyes and focus on your breathing until you are prepared to return to the exam in front of you. If you find your symptoms are above your own help, campuses have counselors dedicated to assisting students with these things. Never fear seeking help from a professional.

Anxiety vs. Worry

  • Worry is in the mind. Anxiety is a feeling throughout the body.
  • Worrying is specific, whereas the latter is a vaguer, looming feeling.
  • Worrying is more controllable because one is in a headspace to problem solve. Anxiety snowballs and solutions are trickier to find.
  • Worry is caused by more practical, day-to-day concerns. Anxiety tends to more long term and caused by worries that begin to pile up.
  • Worrying does not interfere with your daily tasks and interactions. Anxiety can be severe to the point where you begin to avoid daily tasks and social interactions.

This article was originally published in the Spring edition of College News. 

Don’t let anxiety be a hindrance to your exam success and ensure you seek guidance from a counselor about your mental health, alongside following our tips when sitting your exams.

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