Confusion Corner: Roughing it through relationships

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September 3, 2010

12:00 AM

Once again, like clockwork, we find ourselves here at the College of William and Mary. It’s that time of year again, when the days start to get unbearably hot, that we brilliant few choose to lug hundreds of refrigerators, dozens of air conditioners — having “allergies” rocks — and thousands of stupid bookshelves from Ikea that we’ll never use up flight after flight of stairs. It’s a time for the volley of perfunctory questions of, “How was your summer?” and “What are you taking this semester?” It’s a time to sigh heavily and haul your lazy ass to Earl Gregg Swem Library. It’s a time to notice how progressively hotter each incoming freshman class seems to get (way to go, class of 2014). But this article isn’t about that last part. Well, not entirely.

This time of the year can also be a time to figure out your relationship status with that special someone you left at home, or that special someone who’s meeting you back at school.

The hardest thing in the world can be leaving your significant other at home. Maybe he or she hasn’t yet graduated, you cradle robbers, or maybe he or she is attending community college — or maybe even another university entirely. In any of these cases, life sucks. Trust me; I’ve been there. I know all about the constant checking of your phone to see if your significant other is off work yet. I’m completely familiar with the preoccupation and absent-mindedness that can accompany leaving your heart at home. Save for a too-juicy-to-pass-up promotion in one’s career, I can’t think of another situation, aside from college, in which this agony is so common. It sucks, hard. But it does get better. Until it does, throw yourself into your friends here at the College. Before you know it, fall break will be here and you’ll be back home kissing your sweetie in Seattle, holding your boo in Boston, or necking in Nova.

Reuniting with your significant other back on campus can be treacherous, too. While it’s great that the College attracts people from all over the world, it can be tough spending the three months 3,000 miles away from that special someone. Again, trust me, I know. How will the summer have changed the both of you? Will your baller new tan intimidate them? Will they be bored by your summer as a waiter if they were teaching English in Prague? How quickly will you fall back into your old habits together of late-night Wawa run and even later-night Swem sessions? And what if you don’t want to return to those same habits? I wish I had answers to these questions, but if I did, I’d be rich, and you would never see me again. So, be thankful I don’t.

Hardest of all, however, is if you broke up with a fellow member of the Tribe over the summer, and you two must be forced to cohabit the campus of the College for an entire year. Again, nowhere else would two people who had just broken up be asked to spend all of their time together in a one-square mile area. Such is the oddity of college. Who gets to keep the shared friends, and who gets to frequent the shared favorite party spot? I’ll refrain from saying whether or not I’ve been here, but trust me when I tell you that the sooner the two of you suck it up and start acting like adults, the sooner you can stop patrolling the bricks of campus like people in the witness protection program.

Relationships are hard. College is hard. Vis-a-vis, college relationships are hard. But with a little work and a lot of strength, they can be far and away the most rewarding of your life — and they don’t have to be like a Nicholas Sparks novel, either.

__Jason Rogers is a Confusion Corner columnist. He is all for doing your best to make it work.__

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