Single and Sensational

By Maria White

I met him my second day at college.

I had signed up to go school at a university I had never heard of. The city was unusual, campus was confusing, and I didn’t know a soul.

When I met him, however, everything changed.

I quickly went from being a very distant and isolated freshman to being swept up into parties and social events. Nearly crippled by social anxiety, I found myself leaning further into my relationship for comfort and further away from the person I knew I was. Not only would we celebrate birthdays and holidays together, but every step we took in developing our lives as college students we took together. Slowly but surely, my identity as a college student began to intertwine with his.

And when the relationship came to a close, I was like a freshman again.

Now, a year after the infamous breakup, I am able to look back and feel truly proud of who I am and how far I’ve come in developing my sense of self while staying single in college.

Most notably, I’ve been able to be selfish with my time. College is perhaps one of the best times to be free and have fun while your responsibilities are few. Instead of prioritizing what activities and events my boyfriend planned, I am now able to focus on what I want to do and then go out and enjoy these things. Even better, I can be spontaneous and have been able to make last-minute plans to go explore a new city or take a trip home at a moment’s notice. College takes up energy and time. So does a relationship. Having time solely for myself to be spent only on what makes me happy has been refreshing and so freeing.

Amongst this newfound freedom, I’ve found a focus unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’ve been able to fully dive into new projects, extracurricular activities, and organizations that help me accomplish goals I’ve set for myself. By joining more clubs and organizations in my community, I’ve been able to surround myself with supportive groups of people who encourage and strengthen me more than my boyfriend ever did. In particular, fostering my relationships with other college-aged women has perhaps been one of the best effects of my singleness. With my girl gang behind me, I’ve been able to accomplish more than I ever dreamed of.

While being single has given me time to be with others, I’ve also learned how to be alone. College isn’t always easy and when the times have gotten tough, I’ve learned how to lean into myself instead of depending on other people. I’ve discovered my own unique values and learned what truly makes me happy. College is a great time to self-reflect and evaluate not only who you are, but what you stand for and what you hope to accomplish. Had I not split off from my relationship, I know my values would have blended with his and my true identity may have been lost. Now, I am able to focus on myself and the things that make me and only me happy. I am so proud of who I am and have never loved myself more.

Yes, I am single. But I know who I am and I know what I can do. Let’s dare to find the value in ourselves and let’s dare to be sensational.    

Maria White