Although it pains me to admit it, my college years are almost over. And even though the majority of the past three years have been filled with late-night study sessions and mid-day Netflix binges, I’d like to think I’ve learned more than just the curriculum bullet-pointed on my syllabi. After all, some of the most important lessons we learn in college happen far from the confines of a classroom; and the most painful lessons of all tend to creep up on us during our most vulnerable moments.
That’s right — we’re talking about all those lessons learned while crying to our best friends with a half-melted carton of ice cream and a broken-down relationship in our wake. The kind of epiphanies that hit us just as our spoons scrape the bottom of the carton.
These are the 8 pieces of love advice I wish I knew my freshman year.
1. You Deserve To Be Honest With Yourself
My grandma once told me something that really stuck with me: “Women are fixers. We like to make things work, even when they were never meant to.” College girls, I’ve come to realize, are no exception. We tend to push square pegs into round holes in the hopes of making something — and in most cases, someone — fit our expectations. Don’t be that girl. Don’t be the girl that spends hours trying to convince herself that the guy who only calls at 1 a.m. is actually boyfriend material. Don’t be the girl that lets one text serve as proof that an inconsiderate guy is actually falling in love with her.
Sometimes a hook-up is just a hook-up. Sometimes a player is just a player. And just like you can’t put lipstick on a pig and expect a unicorn, you can’t fall for a douchebag and expect Prince Charming.
2. Stop Thinking Of Yourself As “His” Hookup
There’s a tired trope when it comes to hookups, and it goes something like this: Guy pursues girl, guy convinces girl to give in, guy gets what he wants, and guy leaves girl to clean up the mess. But this narrative is horribly old-school and embarrassingly one-sided. News flash: girls have sex drives. Girls can want to play the relationship game fast and loose. Girls can have a go-to hookup partner, too.
If you have a guy that you’re having casual sex with, go for it. Just remember that when you send him out your door, he’s just as much your hookup as you are his.
3. Not Every Guy Wants To Date You — And That’s Okay
Some guys will take you out on a date and text you that very same night; some guys will take you out on a date — or two or three or four — and stop texting you all together. And even though it’s easy to feel like you did something wrong, it’s important to realize that both of these scenarios are fine. In fact, both of them are ideal. On the one hand, you have a great guy who wants to see you again. On the other hand, you’ve succeeded in ridding yourself of a boy that isn’t worth his weight in salt. Don’t shed a tear for Boy B; because chances are, he isn’t shedding one for you.
4. It Doesn’t Matter If You Forgot To Shave Your Legs
I’ve had a bunch of hookups in my day. Some have been planned meticulously ahead of time, (I’m talking enough time to do my dishes and throw my dirty bras under the bed), and others happened completely spontaneously. There’s something different and exciting about each and every one of them, but if there’s something that has remained true across the board, it’s this — no guy has ever halted me mid-hookup and said, “Oh girl, you’re a bit prickly.”
5. Don’t Slut-Shame Yourself
If there’s one thing that frustrates me about college dating, it’s the numbers game; or the idea that the number of people a girl’s slept with directly correlates to how slutty and loose she must be. And although a higher number of sexual partners does increase the probability that a person has encountered an STD or STI in his/her lifetime, it has absolutely no impact on a person’s moral compass or perception of self-worth.
So you’ve slept with 10 guys this month; who cares. So you hooked up with two different guys in the same fraternity; who gives a shit. Be smart, be safe, and look out for yourself. The rest is just white noise.
6. Don’t Wait Around For A Guy To Text You
If you want to talk to a guy, then text him. If you want to see if he’ll come to a house party with you, then ask him. Most guys like a girl who takes initiative and is confident enough to say what she’s thinking. And if he doesn’t, then ditch him. You may be “thirsty,” but at least you’re not a sexist, backwards-thinking chauvinist.
7. Stop Stalking His New Girlfriend On Instagram
Yeah, she’s cuffing your old dude. And yeah, she’s gorgeous, even though your best friend promises that you’re totally hotter than her. Although it hurts to admit it, let’s be honest — you two have a lot in common, (and it’s not just that you’ve both drooled on the same pillow).
Abandon the cultural myth that all women must compete with each other for a guy’s attention. There will always be a girl out there who can catch your man’s eye, and that’s fine. Just remember that her beauty, wit, and charisma do nothing to detract from your own.
8. Don’t Let A Guy Alter Your Path
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from wine nights with my best friends, it’s that girls always regret letting a guy influence big decisions in their lives. “I wish I hadn’t let my ex keep me from studying abroad.” “I wish I wouldn’t have shut off all my friends during my relationship.” “I wish I had gone to a big city school instead of the same college with my boyfriend.”
Don’t be the girl that lets the world pass her by from the safety of her boyfriend’s dorm room. This is your life; this is your chance; these are your college years. Don’t get suckered into sharing them with someone who doesn’t deserve it.
Image via Oguguam Ugwuanyi