Relationships in University

I’ve come across this article on “The Ridge”, which is the magazine that a bunch of NUS students wrote and published and it is free waiting to be collected at several locations in campus. The title of this article is “Confessions of a Single Freshman”, which I found a little amusing because it is slightly different from what I experienced in university. I will write my thoughts after each chunk of text.

Guys, hands up if you have heard the advice that your best time in university is the best time to find “the other half”. Faced with a potent mix of raging hormones, female deprivation (an unfortunate consequence of fulfilling National Service) and a series of orientation games that bring intimacy to a whole new level, it is no wonder that there is a spike in the number of new relationships on campus at the start of the academic year.

Somehow I wonder since when we have orientation games that bring intimacy to a whole new level, and since when had such games led to a spike of new relationships on campus. It is in my opinion that the games are just meant to facilitate bonding amongst larger groups. Besides, the beginning of a relationship is due to a multitude of other factors that has nothing to do with “female deprivation” or “orientation games”. One gets attracted to someone not because they have not seen any females in their 2 years of life, or that they like how the opposite sex plays a game, or how you get to be intimate, if any.

But I did hear about the best time and the other half part, which has it’s pros and cons.

For the other freshmen who had initially wanted to remain single, they stand little chances against the pressure to get attached. And as if peer pressure is not enough, I can personally attest to the numerous times lecturers have alluded to this matter during their lectures, invoking nervous laughter from the crowd.

Personally I never thought as undergraduates with an average age of 19 for female freshies and 21 for male freshies, we would be so childish to get attached cause our friends are attached. We stand little chance against the pressure to get attached? I laugh, for I think we stand a greater chance of feeling so depressed that our friends are scoring better than us in tests and examinations than to feel peer pressure regarding being in a relationship. Lecturers in Engineering though, have not mentioned anything on this topic.

The burden to conform to an idealized state of being attached is so overwhelming that one wonders whether the Social Development Network (SDN) is slowly but surely making an impact on every aspect of the university student’s life.

Yet, what’s wrong with being single, really?

Let no one lie to you. The idea of “the other half” is a myth conjured by deluded Greek philosophers. Some feel a sense of emptiness which they believe can only be filled by “the other half”. But the reality is that you do not need to be attached to feel satisfied about your life! You do not need “the other half” to define who you are as a person; you are a complete being.

What’s more, trying to find fulfilment solely through a romantic relationship more often than not turns out to be a pointless quest that ends in disappointment.

Not much comments there, as the author does make some sense that there are indeed other sources of fulfilment that one could attain to feel good about himself/herself.

For me, staying single is a rational choice. We often underestimate the amount of time and energy we need to invest in a relationship. Take me for an example; the opportunity cost of me getting into a relationship is the time and energy I could have spent on achieving my first-class honours.

Don’t jump onto the relationship bandwagon before you have decided for yourself whether you are ready for this extra commitment and whether you understand the impact it will have on your academia.

I understand the opportunity cost part, but this begs the question: How many people who remain single, manage to achieve first class honours? I don’t think that getting the first class honours is such a simple process. There are plenty of factors to think about. Neglecting a person’s natural ability to absorb material, we have to consider other factors like the amount of time spent on CCA, on going out with friends, on resting and watching dramas and anime and what have you that has nothing to do with academic matters.

I would rather push forward the notion that we must learn better time management for our activities. The author seems to suggest that relationships are the only source of distraction, and that undergraduates must spent ALL their time studying just to get first class honours.

And I say that’s a load of bullshit. The curriculum is structured for you to have a good social life on top of your studies. You might need to spent more time to understand the lectures compared to smarter friends, but you don’t have to neglect your social life. University is about striking a balance.

What is the point of achieving a first class honours but you lack social life?

I think the best advice for people going into a relationship is to be mature about it. Recognize that there are other priorities in life that needs to be managed, and that your other half does not fill up your world entirely. Perhaps that the author, a freshman, is mixing around with other female freshies of age 19, who have a different opinion about priorities as compared to a, say, year 4 female. Of course, there are varying degrees of maturity even in a group of people in the same age, but ignore that for a while and take the general route. At 19, perhaps it is more important to play and enjoy and having fun. After a few (failed) relationships, people do grow up and understand better about themselves.

If you desire companionship and a shoulder to lean on, you can always start by making friends.

Sometimes, we forget that the first step towards a great relationship is to learn first what it means to be a good friend.

That’s the end of the article. The last portion makes sense too so there’s nothing much I want to comment. 🙂

That’s all from me today.

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