Dating as a young adult has its challenges, including finding the time to fit it in with a busy schedule. From experience, I often meet college students dating their childhood or high school sweethearts and surviving through long distance or finding their significant others at some point in their college career. But in between studying for classes on weekdays, hanging out with friends on weekends, staying involved in extracurricular activities, taking time for your hobbies, and working part- or full-time in between, dating can be an obstacle course.
Photo: Courtney Hennigan
Dating long distance
While certainly not easy, it is possible to make it past a long distance relationship. With modern technology, long distance relationships have the ability to provide you with the space to grow as individuals while also being committed to a significant other. Here are some ways to stay connected and date long distance all while balancing academics and a social life.
Schedule Skype dates
Or any type of video chatting time. It is important to make time to talk and catch up with a significant other, whether it is through Skype or Google Hangout. Not only does this time allow for reconnecting, but it can also take away from the stress of homework, work, or other tiring projects. Make Skype dates fun by making dinner and eating in front of the computer to replicate eating dinner together or turn on the same movie at the same time for a movie date.
Text and call often
Communication is important for long distance relationships. Texting and calling throughout the day can allow both partners to be involved in each other’s days. Communicating frequently lends itself to actively being involved with one another and opens the door to stay a part of each other’s lives, even from afar. Even with multiple priorities and hectic schedules, managing time to fit in a text or a phone call establishes the relationship as a priority.
Plan a trip together
Whether it is a weekend trip to visit each other or a summer vacation, plan some time to spend together after months apart. Take turns visiting one another during a weekend, or perhaps plan to see each other for winter or spring formal or when there are no classes. Of course, be sure to schedule trips when there are no major tests or much homework because the time with each other is what is important. Try to complete all previous commitments (like taking off work, finishing all homework, or arranging alternate plans for extracurricular activities) before visiting so the trip can be more meaningful for both partners. And remember to unplug!
Dating in proximity
Of course, it is much easier to date when both partners live near each other or located on the same campus. Usually, these require less reliance on technology and more commitment face-to-face. However, close proximity to each other may contribute to a lack of prioritization in the relationship as plans tend to get pushed back because they can be made at any point. Dates might even become spontaneous. Or they might become more frequent depending on the couple. Here are ways to date when both partners are in close proximity of each other.
It is always nice to date within close proximity of each other because it provides an endless number of opportunities to spend time in-person. Rather than keeping in touch via Skype or video chats, spend some time during the weekend at coffee or exploring the local areas. In the fall and winter, take on the cold together by watching Netflix indoors or going ice skating. In the warmer months, try hiking or a picnic in the park. Being able to see each other face-to-face allows for more physical and intimate interaction, ultimately creating a closer bonding experience.
If both partners share the same college campus, it is also worth meeting up a few times per week. Sure, busy schedules may prevent one another from seeing each other for a long period of time, but why not meet up for study or homework dates? Knock out two birds with one stone and see each other for a quick coffee or lunch break before heading out to class or work. Alas, seeing each other can be a priority amid the busy days.
Dating when both partners are within proximity provides an opportunity to share a friend group. Not only that, but group dates become feasible, which helps in getting to know each other’s friends. With that, it will be a great way to learn about each other’s hobbies and support one another in extracurricular activities.
Sara Kim graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a double minor in Health Policy and Management and Asian American Studies from Ithaca College. She currently works as an Event Coordinator at a non-profit. In her free time, she enjoys working out, reading, watching movies, and cooking. Fun fact: as a foodie, she loves to try new foods and travel to new places.