The best advice any adult has given me my senior year of high school is to go to the school I feel is the most interesting for me and not the one my significant other is going to. For most people, it isn't as easy as just picking up and moving away; you might feel lost and unsure of what to do about your relationship!
Now, don't get me wrong, if the school that best suits your wants and needs happens to be the one that suits your significant other's wants and needs, then go for it! But something you probably should avoid as a recent high school graduate entering the real world is to go to a certain college for little reason other than the fact that your partner is going there. I have witnessed this phenomenon and I have been told stories of this phenomenon. I won't tell you how it turns out because it has varying results.
Ultimately, it's your decision, but make sure you make the right one FOR YOU. Being able to compromise is a great problem-solving strategy in a relationship, but if you decide to follow your partner instead of going to that school you were interested in, realize that you are voluntarily going to be compromising much more than they will be. Here's the thing, you do not have to put yourself through this. I'm going to offer you five reasons to stay with your partner while still being able to go out and do you!
1. It allows the two of you to transition together as individuals!
You've probably heard this about a thousand times: college is an individual growing process. Going to the same school as your partner for the sake of being close can really take away from your ability to grow as a person and transition independently. If you follow your partner, you might even develop a dependence on them, which wouldn't be healthy for either of you with a large course load and your futures to worry about. Although, what you might not have already heard is that going away to college doesn't necessarily mean reinventing yourself, meaning you also don't have to break up with your partner. It's good to have someone to support you when things get tough, and your partner can still provide support if you move away to a different school. Going to the same school makes it more likely that the both of you will transition as one, as a couple. It's not a bad thing, but it's not the greatest thing either. Why not transition together as individuals? It's possible, and it's done by having a long distance relationship.
In the end, if going to a different college and growing more independent causes your partner to want to break it off, perhaps it's just the way to go. Life after high school is just the beginning. Some things are better off left in the past. If it was meant to be, it will be! Always look on the bright side, especially during life-changing transitions.
2. Time spent together will be much more special!
As bad as this sounds, constantly being with your significant other means you may take for granted the time you spend with them instead of seeing it as precious time. However, if you go to a different school a few hours away, hanging out with them will be much more exciting and cherished. You'll count down the days to that weekend you are planning to visit them and the memories you will make during your visits will be more meaningful. Essentially, it gives you something to get excited about and look forward to, which is exactly what seeing your partner is supposed to feel like.
3. You can focus on your academic and professional goals.
Face it, you would be much less interested or willing to read your textbook if your partner was on campus with you; it's normal. But be forewarned, the temptation might take over and get the best of you academically! You may be reading for an upcoming lecture and suddenly you'll start thinking about your significant other and the next thing you know, you're at the campus cafe with them when you should really be finishing up that last chapter in your textbook. It should be necessary to make time for the people you love, but in this case it's just another way of procrastinating your responsibilities as a student. Fortunately and unfortunately, if you're a few hours away from them it's not as easy as dropping your textbook and meeting up for a coffee. So, it's kind of depressing, but it will ultimately allow the both of you to focus more on your academic goals and your career goals. That is why you're in college in the first place, right?
4. It can develop and strengthen trust.
If for whatever reason you or your partner have trust issues or if one of you is insecure about the relationship (let's be real, it happens), moving away to your preferred college is the best way to overcome these issues or at least come to terms with them. While you are away, you expect your partner to be loyal and they should expect you to be loyal. You are relying on them to do their part in keeping the relationship alive and healthy and if they manage to do their part, your trust in them will strengthen. The same applies the other way around, if you do your part, they will trust you more and won't question the things you do. At the end of the day, if they do not end up being loyal, then were they really even good for you in the first place?
5. It tests your relationship.
Going the long distance route while you're in school is a great way to test your relationship! If you decide not to follow your partner after high school, it means that you two will have to work together more than usual to keep the relationship. It sounds like a ridiculous reason to move away, but it isn't. If the two of you can manage to do a long distance relationship throughout your schooling, your bond will be stronger than ever before and you two will be prepared to face life together. On the other hand, if you and your partner cannot overcome hardships like going away to school, can you two, as a couple, really overcome the other hardships that life will throw your way after college? All in all, going away to college is a big transition and it really does test your relationship and yourself as an individual.
We've reached the end of the countdown, fellow high school seniors! The last piece of advice I offer you that has been passed down to me is that when deciding if you should follow your partner, remember that following in someone else's shadow can be straining and damaging for both parties. Spread your wings and allow your partner to spread theirs! You might be surprised at how much happier and supportive the both of you can be together if you aren't metaphorically doing this:
Like countless adults have said to me in regards to this topic, your personal identity in high school is just the basis of what you will become. If it gets to be too hard to stay together, understand that it's because the both of you aren't who you used to be and have different goals and expectations in life. Try not to get too caught up in what might have happened if you would have followed them. You went to the college you wanted to go to, you took risks and opportunities, and you focused on your career goals. In the long run, it allowed you to grow. As long as you like who you are at that possible point in the future, that's what matters the most. Lastly, if you decide to move away, consider this: both you and your partner are going in your own directions to pursue your own dreams; you are both intelligent and capable. You two have got this! Afterwards, you two can pursue the dreams that you both will establish together. But whatever you decide, no one should judge you because it's your life and your future.
Lead Image Credit: New Line Film Productions and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.
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