by Kelly Serrano
The college experience is not the same for everyone. Some choose to study, some choose to work and others choose to be in relationships.
With all of the stress and responsibility involved in being a full-time student, one may think that it is just an extra burden to have a significant other. Others, on the other hand, enjoy companionship and are happiest when in a relationship.
Whether presently involved in a relationship or not, most students know that it takes a lot of work to be in one. While every student at ULV is different, so is a relationship.
Errol Moultrie, department chair of the master’s counseling program, said that a relationship between two students can be very healthy, as long as they can keep it in perspective.
“If students are fairly confident in themselves, then a healthy relationship can be means of support in terms of being in school, having someone to talk to and to learn to communicate,” said Moultrie.
Sophomore Will Lawson and freshman Sydni Myrick have been a couple for two months. Together, they admit that managing a relationship and a school career can be difficult at times, but that they both enjoy the companionship of one another. Both live on campus and regularly eat, do laundry and hang-out together.
Although they enjoy their time together, Lawson and Myrick do spend time apart.
“We’ve gone to parties together and separate. She’s free to do what she wants and I do what I want. It’s not like we’re a married couple, but I know who my sweetheart is and I know where I’m going to be the next day,” said Lawson.
“We take it day by day. Regardless, we’ll always be friends,” he said.
While Moultrie is in favor of healthy-college relationships, in his general psychology classes, during mock situations, he has recognized that students bring up a lot of relationship problems upon themselves. He said that while students are mature, most do not understand what they want out of a relationship.
“I have found that many students are in that sort of needy stage,” said Moultrie. He described this as the period of time when a young-college student feels lonely because of a new-living environment or distance between themselves and family or friends. They look toward relationships as a mean to fill that void.
ULV is filled with extracurricular activities for one to get involved with. These events are ways for students to mingle and have fun. If a student does not get involved in activities because they are dedicated to a relationship, Moultrie said he believes the student is missing an integral part of college.
Senior Dan Ehler, 26, has been involved in a serious relationship for 10 years and recently became engaged. His fiancée is not a ULV student and Ehler says that it is sometimes a challenging situation.
“It’s tough being in two different places at one time. It’s tough when my goals are school and friendships and hanging out and she’s in her career and wants to settle down,” he said.
However, Ehler said that he definitely is not missing out on anything ULV has to offer by being in a relationship.
Sophomore, Josie Martin has been involved in a relationship with a non-ULV student for three and a half years. Her relationship is different because her boyfriend lives in Santa Barbara and they only get to see each other on the weekends. She said that this makes it easier to prioritize her life, because she can only see him on the weekends, and can concentrate on school during the week.
“A relationship is very hard, but if you get it set up right, it can definitely work,” said Martin. “I think you just have to prioritize.”
Junior Aaron Garcia is not presently in a relationship and said that he would be “missing out” if he was.
“Having to deal with school and an emotional-type relationship becomes too much of a burden,” said Garcia. “You can’t always do what you want to do because you always have to think about the other person.
“The college experience is one in which [it] should be exploratory in terms of a student’s interpersonal experiences,” said Moultrie.
These experiences that Moultrie speaks of help to prepare students for the world in general as well as in more serious relationships in the future.
Years ago, many people used to meet in college, graduate and get married. Many times one can hear an older generation member say, “We met in college.”
While this still may happen, Moultrie said it is not as common today and if it does, most marriages will end in divorce.
According to Moultrie, students should learn about themselves and who they are and learn how to communicate with others before being committed to one person.