What It's Like Dating In High School vs. College

I’ve tried to write an introduction for this blog post about 30 times now. Long story short: it’s still not working. 

Let’s just go over my dating history:

*Names changed for privacy reasons.

In high school, I dated two guys. Well, 3. Let’s make it 2.5-- *Sawyer, *Charlie (0.5), and *Kingston. Each of these boys taught me something crucial about myself. In college, I continued a high school relationship and after that one failed, I gave myself time to explore my options. I learned that there's different types of dating: the casual kind and the serious kind. After a long summer, I began the serious kind of dating. Each and every single "dating experience" helps shape you.

In high school, dating can cause you to rearrange your priorities. 

When I was a freshman in high school, I fell head over heels for a blonde-haired, blue-eyed jock a.k.a. *Sawyer. I had the biggest crush on him. So, when he asked me out I was absolutely thrilled (and that might be an understatement). After a few weeks into our relationship, I lost sight of my priorities-- my blog, studying Spanish, etc. I wanted to show him that I could adapt to his “jock-like lifestyle.” To put it shortly, I couldn't.

In college, it’s easier to communicate.

Before Andres and I started talking, we had “The Talk.” “The Talk” consisted of our life goals and priorities. I made it very clear that I was focused on my studies in order to graduate a year and a half early. I wanted to get a head start on my goals and dreams. He honored and respected my wishes. 

In high school, you don’t know when to move on.

I didn’t know when to move on from *Sawyer. I thought that it was okay that he didn’t acknowledge our one month anniversary. I thought it was okay that he never wanted us to hangout with my friends. I thought it was okay that he always wanted us to hangout with his friends. Red flags started going up when he began asking for pictures. I was able to dodge them by making lame excuses. On one cold Friday night in January, he took me to a party. All of the couples were going off their separate ways. I was fifteen and very confused. In that moment, I realized holding onto my virginity was more important than holding onto to a boy that really didn’t like me for me. (I don’t resent him though-- he helped me write a kick-ass college admission essay. Read it here.)

In college, you know when it’s time to let someone go.

When someone is no longer giving you their all, it’s time to let them go. When someone is holding you back, it’s time to let them go. When someone is no longer respecting you-- your body, your mind, your goals, your dreams, it’s time to let them go. I learned that it's okay to let toxic people go, whether you're in a friendship OR a romantic relationship.

In high school, you date to date.

In high school, it’s fun to date. It’s fun to go out with a boy. It’s fun to experience different emotions. It’s fun to do couple-like-things. That’s why *Charlie is 0.5. I dated him for the sole purpose of dating him. I knew he liked me and I liked the dating game. It was pretty far from romantic, but we tried. We were better off as friends in the long run. 

In college, dating is a different game.

There’s the casual kind. I’ve done casual dating; and it’s not for me. I don’t like going on one or two dates with a guy and then playing the waiting game. I think it’s stupid. I like to be in a committed relationship if the person and timing is right. With that being said, there’s also the serious kind of dating. Isn't the purpose of dating to find a lifelong partner?

In high school, you might lose yourself.

In each of the 2.5 relationships I was in, I experienced a sense of loss. In most cases, it was a Taylor Swift “Blank Space” situation: “Find out what you want/ Be that girl for a month.” With *Sawyer, I just wanted to be pretty. I wanted to be pretty enough for him to take me to the football games, parties, and everything in between. With *Kingston, I wanted to be a God’s girl. However, with *Charlie, I think I was the one who tried to change him. I wanted him to be cool enough for me. I wanted him to ditch the pot drugs, wear khakis, and take honors history. And, yes, I regret doing that to him-- Mostly because we had history together for the following two years and it was kind of uncomfortable after the split. I guess that's my #Karma for trying to change him.

In college, you might just find yourself.

I did. I spent the first year of my college career exploring and searching. I found what I was passionate about: psychology. After a serious breakup, I spent the summer “casual dating" in efforts to find out what I liked and disliked in a companion. (Like I mentioned earlier, not my thing.) I spent my second year of college, exploring and searching some more. I found a love for not only psychology, but Spanish too. I also like to create change. I am seriously passionate about immigration reform. I want to move out of my small town someday. I want to run a non-profit organization. The list goes on. By finding myself, I was able to find someone who I might want to spend the rest of my life with. Someone who appreciates your traits and values you as a human being is someone special.

In high school AND college, every Taylor Swift song will be applicable.
After my first heartbreak, I listened to "Fifteen" over and over again. Taylor was right-- you will do better things than dating the boy on the soccer football team. But, you won't figure that out until later. So, when you're still not over him, you'll listen to "Dear John" and wonder how he could break your heart like that. He'll probably catch you subtweeting him, too. But, you'll move on, and you'll watch something beautiful bloom to the beats of "Begin Again." And, after that fallout, you'll think about all the things you did wrong. Like the time you really did hangup the phone on him mid-sentence. "I Wish You Would" will get you through that one. Oh, and when you're at some party and you stumble across a guy who is so incredibly cool and handsome and everything-- listen to "Gorgeous."  We've all been there.

*DISCLAIMER: These experiences are subjective. I do not hold any resentment against the boys I "dated" in high school/college. Each and every experience has helped me grow and develop into the woman I am.*

Andres and I created a blog where we document our adventures together. New post every Friday! Click here!

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