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Seeking Sensibility: When You Go To Different Schools

Morgan Summers |
September 20, 2013 | 3:35 p.m. PDT


How can you make it work with a significant other who goes to another college? With so many new experiences and busy schedules, it seems daunting to maintain a real relationship. Everyone says it’s impossible...

The key to a successful college relationship is recognizing that this is an exciting time in both of your lives. (Hey Paul Studios, Creative Commons)
The key to a successful college relationship is recognizing that this is an exciting time in both of your lives. (Hey Paul Studios, Creative Commons)

Let me preface this article with a piece of advice I received from a good friend right before I started my USC journey: 

BREAK OFF ALL ROMANTIC ATTACHMENTS BEFORE COLLEGE. Forget about relationships, dude. College is all about hooking up and forgetting the names of the people you kissed last week... amiright?!


She’s an idiot and we don’t talk anymore. And guess what? I’m happily in a committed relationship with *gasp* a boy who doesn’t go to USC. Whether it’s due to commitment-phobia, business or just wanting the true college experience, there are plenty of reasons why people choose to stay single. 

But that doesn’t mean it has to be YOUR reason to stay single. My friend’s advice, while based on experience, is just worn out rhetoric from bitter single people who couldn’t make it work. 

The key to making a college relationship successful is recognizing that this is an exciting time in both of your lives. The experiences you get to have now will rarely present themselves after graduation. Encourage your significant other to take advantage of every opportunity while being there for support. Share your experiences with each other. Communication and trust will go a long way.

Look, we’ve all heard the old “no relationships in college” adage and it needs to stop. While I don’t deny college should be a time to focus on finding yourself and growing as an individual, it’s also a great time to form lasting emotional bonds, romantic and platonic alike. And believe me, I get it. My college experience has been a whirlwind and I’ve kissed more random people at parties than I can count. But college relationships aren’t impossible—even with someone who goes to a different school.

And yeah, if you’re anything like the average student, there might be times when you’re sitting in your dorm studying while your significant other is drunk and partying with friends. That’s life. That’s college. You can’t be there 24/7 and you can’t control what someone else does. If you try to be controlling, you’re not going to have a good time. Trust is crucial in any relationship, and even more so when you operate in separate social circles at different schools.

By the way, do me a favor and forget the word “real.” What constitutes a happy relationship for you and your significant other rarely aligns with another couple’s definition of a “real” relationship. NEVER compare your relationship to someone else’s. I made this mistake once, and it wasn’t until after I sent an overly-dramatic text to my boyfriend and started a fight that I realized my error. I learned that what other people needed in a relationship wasn’t necessary for my happiness. Play on YOUR terms.

If both of you are committed and willing, it’s totally possible for relationships to survive the college lifestyle. And if it only means a Skype call once a week until you see each other, or if it requires good morning texts every day, find what works for you. As long as you’re communicating on a level that makes you happy, that’s all that matters. 

I’ve found the happy medium in my relationship - and even though sometimes I wish he called more often, I remember that it’s just college and to go out there and have some fun.


"Seeking Sensibility" is a new weekly relationship column by Morgan Summers. Going through relationship problems? Just got into a fight with your best friend? Caught in the middle of an awkward situation? Morgan wants to hear about it! Write in with stories or questions and you may be featured in next week’s column.



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