College and relationships go together like Social Media and deep insecurity. Whether you’re making friends with people who are just as miserable in that 8am as you, or possibly getting to know your life partner, it’s just easier in college. On your first day of freshman year, it’s like you’ve been invited inside this bubble. At first it’s new and weird and a little bit terrifying, but then you start to stretch to figure out the boundaries and eventually you get comfortable.
Relationships have a similar process. Long distance=someone who lives more than 5 minutes away by car, and walking around campus usually turns into an extreme meet and great with 50 people you kinda know. A quick Snap story asking who wants to get ice cream at midnight always had at least one enthusiastic reply and nap dates were very graciously accepted.
Now, however, we’re all spread out. Some of us have started jobs and are trying to figure out what a routine looks like. Others of us are just floating around while routine is still a four letter word. None of us were prepared for the distance that now rests in our relationships.
It’s not just the distance, it’s also the act of transitioning that seems to cause tension in even the most solid of foundations. Maybe you and your partner, or friend, are on two different paths. Maybe you’re on the same path, but you have different feelings about it. Or maybe you just don’t know what “you” is anymore. The good news is that all of these are just growing pains, and the thing about growing pains is that they are healthy; the discomfort means growth, and that is always a good thing.
I used to think that the high school to college transition was the hardest, but now I understand that the opposite is true. We’ve spent the past four years parading around in our little “adult” suits thinking that we knew who we were and what we wanted. Well now the world is calling us to be actual adults. I’ve come to realize that I don’t know myself as much as I thought.
I still need room to grow and figure out who I am, outside of the college bubble–and it’s ok if you do too. The thing about good relationships is that they are meant to be elastic, they have to be able to bend and stretch because those are both signs of growth. If your relationship is starting to feel like maybe it’s a little more brittle than elastic, I encourage you to take a good, hard assessment of it’s health–and don’t forget to communicate! Be honest with yourself and your partner about how you’re feeling, you may be surprised on how much they feel the same.
Friendships are no different. Maybe you’re starting to feel like you don’t know how you fit in their life anymore because your friendship looks different outside of the college light. Don’t just sit there and let those feelings build, talk to your friend. Tell them how you’re feeling. They are your friend, they will know what to say.
Maybe now is also a good time to try out that therapy thing you’ve heard about. I honestly believe everyone, at least once in their lives, should go to therapy. Especially if you’re like me and have to think out loud in order to works things out, or maybe you just need someone who’s a professional to tell you that all the inner turmoil you feel is normal; you are normal.
Whatever your situation, or relationship status, I hope you will find peace in the fact that we’re all trying to figure this stuff out, just give yourself the mercy to take your time to figure it out as well.
Communication is key,