Opinion / The Saint

Baby it’s cold outside: dating on a small campus

Story by Elizabeth Schoof, Staff Writer 

Photo courtesy of shuttershock.com

“You’re going to Aquinas? I met my spouse there!” It’s a phrase that I’ve heard in a variety of ways from various alumni. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing the cute “how we met” stories, but most days those stories leave me feeling doubtful. Aquinas is a little school and there’s a relatively slim chance that I will be sharing a “how we met” story one day. Regardless, I’m an optimist who happens to love a Hallmark style happy ending. Because of this, I’ll cling to the hope that dating on a small campus is possible. In fact, I’ll even encourage it.

While going to school on a small campus is limiting in some aspects, it provides a better opportunity for students to maintain close friendships. One of my favorite things about Aquinas is that I meet new people every day, and still get to see my friends consistently. Hanging out with friends at a larger college is not nearly as convenient as it is here. For the most part, my friends and I are within a mile of each other at all times. I can walk down the hall or make the 15 minute trek across campus with ease. The friendships that we form here at AQ are tight knit and highly valued.

Some people would argue that tight knit friendships make dating on a small campus difficult. If you’re close friends with someone, it can be difficult to escape the friendzone without damaging the relationship as it stands. Personally, I think that being close friends before labeling it as a romantic relationship is the best way to go about dating. When you’re close friends with someone before you date, you get to know one another without pressure.  Not only that, but if you were friends before you were romantically involved, you probably have more in common than your attraction to one another.

Having a lot in common with a significant other is absolutely vital when you attend a small school. There is no such thing as “space” when you decide to enter a relationship with someone on campus. It doesn’t matter where you go, chances are you’re going to run into them. While there’s nothing wrong with seeing people consistently, it makes it that much more important to have things in common. If you’re going to spend a large amount of time together, you have to find a way to make the spark last.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll find myself taking part in a  “how we met” story. Maybe not. At least it’s clear  that dating on a smaller college campus is something that, although difficult, can be extremely rewarding. While the size of your college does not determine the quality of the relationship you have, dating on a small campus provides unique opportunities to spend time with one another. You’ll never have to worry about not having the time to see one another. Even if it’s something as simple as dinner at Wege, a small college makes having a relationship incredibly convenient.

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