College relationships are not black and white. They are not good or bad, but rather a soft gray area that can have a profound impact on your college experience.

Depending on your relationship, you can learn about what you need in another person and what you want for yourself in the future. College is a gift that allows for learning, whether in terms of self-discovery or truly getting to know another person.

On the reverse side, you can also run the risk of getting so caught up in dating that you can neglect your friends and yourself. Finally out of the house, you have more time and space than ever before. You can plunge yourself headfirst into your passions or whomever you are passionate about.  With this freedom, however, comes the difficulty of maintaining balance in your life.

Relationships can bring you incredible happiness, but also heartbreaking sadness as well. It’s important to be aware of when a relationship is causing you more harm than good. The best relationships will be those that are intimate, inspiring and uplifting.

With these precious years of college passing by so quickly, it’s important to spend your time with those whom you care about most and who inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
Students at the University of Southern California share their opinions on dating in college:

Frank Ingriselli, a senior film production major, had a positive outlook: “College is a time for both experimentation and learning. People drink for the first time and experiment in other areas of their lives, including dating. I had never really dated before my current girlfriend, and I’ve learned a lot about being in a relationship… I think you could use my relationship as an example of how college can be a time of exploring the potential of love and how one can care deeply about another person.”

Lucas Seifu, a senior business major, shared a similar opinion: “College relationships are definitely not for everyone, but with all of the learning experiences in college, your successes and failures in relationships definitely help prepare you for moving into adulthood. Learning about what you like and dislike in a person in a way that you wouldn't know without being in a relationship. You also get to learn a lot about yourself, your own personality and your own strengths and weaknesses…”

Johnny Beuerlein, a junior civil/environmental engineering major, believes that relationships are often beneficial. “College relationships can be a lot of fun,” he said. “They definitely change your college experience, but hopefully it’s a change that’s for the better. That definitely depends on the relationship though, and you just need to be cognizant of what you want for yourself and what’s right for you.”

Amanda Levy, a senior psychology major, was torn on the issue: “I think that college relationships are much more difficult than most people realize. It's the time in our lives when we are supposed to be doing self-exploration, which isn't the best situation for a commitment to another person. Then again, the best way to learn and grow is through our relationships, so it's a hard balance to keep.”

Haley Brontstien, a recent USC alum, shared her mixed feelings as well: “Granted, college relationships are a good chance to learn about other people and grow. But overall, I just feel like relationships have a cycle here: boys are young, and they think they can just hook up with girls. A few years pass, they finally realize that they would be getting a lot more out a relationship if they just dated someone and actually got to know them… That’s called ‘senior year.’”

Liv Sapin, a junior sociology and Middle Eastern studies major, shared even less optimistic views on dating: “College relationships have a tendency to overwhelm other aspects of the college experience. I truly feel that there is no ability to balance a serious relationship, and actually have fun and friends. Relationships overall are frustrating, and I find it hard to believe that there is actually a person you want to spend that much time with.”