“I was married at your age. Are you going steady yet?” she asks for the third time in a month. At our age, we tend to get these questions a lot. Our parents and grandparents just don’t understand. But do we really even understand?The first thing I remember learning about Cornell happened when I toured the campus February of my junior year of high school. While I kicked myself for not wearing gloves (it was so EFFING cold), my tour guide informed me that an extremely large proportion of Cornellians end up marrying each other. Four years later, I can’t imagine who on this campus I would marry, and I can attribute that to one aspect of college life — the casual hook-up. As many of us have learned to appreciate, college has a very unique quality that many simply refer to as “not real life.” Not only do we live in a bubble, but it is more of a fantasy world — some aspects of reality just don’t apply in a culture where we are still dependent upon our parents but effectively have total and complete freedom. This freedom has its benefits — you can stay out until all hours (not that there’s anything to do after the bars close at 1 a.m. anyway) or you can spend all of your funds on Keystone and CTP instead of actually going grocery shopping. Hell, you can even bursar practically anything, at least until your parents actually figure out what that is — casual lunch at Banfi’s? I mean NetPrint, duh.This unique fantasy world we call college also includes the mystery of sexual encounters, especially the elusive one time hook-up. The moment I got to Cornell, before I even knew the difference between a Trillium and a Terrace salad (oh, there IS a difference), I learned it was fully acceptable for a complete stranger to grab your face, stick their tongue down your throat and then walk away without asking your name. Don’t get me wrong: Dancefloor makeouts at J.O.’s Pixel are fun when the feeling is right, but after a few weekends of being groped by half-strangers, the novelty wears off and you may find yourself lost. As a junior, I find myself in this very position. I am constantly grappling with what I am comfortable doing on those sweaty nights at a frat house. In the moment, a hook-up might seem nice, but in the long run, it leaves me looking for more with a sense of disappointment and resentment toward this college culture we covet so much.And, if it at all seems possible, it is precisely this coveted culture I resent. Why? Because I want to assume that most of the guys at this school will eventually grow out of their lax, noncommittal attitudes on hooking up. Perhaps they might even sit down to get to know someone rather than text them every other weekend at 1 a.m. to “come over” (come may sometimes be misspelled, wink). Forgive me for generalizing by gender, but I believe the same fear that many females have about not finding the right person is held oppositely for males who fear they may waste their time committing to one person. Girls tend to think, “why can’t I find a relationship?” while guys wonder, “Why would I?” My take on the situation is, why can’t we have the best of both worlds? Is there an issue with spending time trying to get out there and meet someone who may be great for you while simultaneously taking advantage of the perks of college? This doesn’t mean you two have to stay in on Saturday and watch A Walk to Remember (guys, I promise, you WILL cry) instead of going to a party, but it may mean having someone to slave away with in the Olin basement until 2 a.m., or to vent to when the Giants lose. Again. And let’s be honest, chivalry is as dead as BBM will be in a week (yeah, I made the switch). So girls, don’t expect to be taken out to John Thomas anytime soon, but guys, a simple digits exchange will less-than-likely be a detriment to your reputation and experience. Maybe what you don’t know yet is that the right girl will give you ample opportunity to rage at Level B on fishbowl night but will also provide Advil at that crucial time before your 10:10 on Thursday.Contrary to popular belief, the number of people you get with in college does not determine your self worth. And trust me, you won’t be able to count the number of college hook-ups on your fingers. But what you will be able to do is remember and value the relationships fostered here. It’s the ones who stick around that count — not the freshman who flashed you during O-week.So maybe the next time you’re contemplating whether to take a leap of faith and put yourself out there, try to evaluate what really makes you happy about college life. Like my Dad always reminds me, it’s all about balance. Maybe this balance will be hard to find at first, but the initial step is opening your eyes and looking around. Who knows? The person you end up marrying in Sage Chapel could be standing behind you in line at CTB. Or not. But hey, it’s worth a shot — do it for Grandma.
Julie Avrutine is a junior in the College of Human Ecology. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Guest Room appears periodically this semester.
Original Author: Julie Avrutine