Love + Higher Ed

“What is college? Stop going until we figure it out!” 

John Mulaney was joking when he said this, but was he really? Because what is college, but a group of 20 somethings sharing YMCA-style communal living spaces and all of their secrets. College is the trophy we are awarded for finishing high school: the most stressful, acne covered years of our lives. College is glamoured as the “good old days.” We are expected to be our happiest selves once we get there. Not to mention potentially finding our future spouse?! I could discuss several inaccuracies about college life. However, today I am discussing one topic specifically: love & sex. 

Television and film has conditioned us to believe that our future soulmate is living down the hall in our first year dorm. The story goes that we will begin as friends. We will develop feelings and begin a steamy, sexual relationship. However, by October, we will fall in love and become exclusive. Flash forward 10 years, we are married with kids and everything kind of “worked out.” News flash, this narrative is false.

The real college dating scene is a gruesome reality that makes you nauseated. It’s unpredictable and hilariously lacking romance. This was disappointing for me from the start. 

Luckily, there is a new show that is definitely more accurate in its depiction of college romance.

The Sex Lives of College Girls was recently released on HBO Max. It is a world of college students created by comedy legend Mindy Kaling. In this show, the characters have casual sex, navigate college friendships, and are generally challenged with finding their respective identities. The characters are thrust into the college hook up scene. They are forced to navigate the allusive “talking stage” of every relationship. They experience the constant fear of being ghosted by someone they like. For anyone who hasn’t dated in college, the jokes in The Sex Lives of College Girls won’t be as funny. But those of us who understand the embarrassment of waiting for a Tinder reply will find the characters hilariously relatable. 

Is The Sex Lives of College Girls glamorized? Of course it’s a television show. But, I wish I could have watched this show as a first year. It would have been nice to feel normal. 

Dating in college isn’t all terrible. With every rejection, we are redirected to something better. Notice I said “something better” not “someone better.” That something better could be crying over ice cream with your best friends. It could simply be using an open date night to catch up on much needed sleep. Through every rejection we learn pretty important lessons.

So, do I really know why we go to college? It’s not the perfect place to find love. Maybe it’s the perfect time to find ourselves.  

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