Can Relationships Survive University?
August 7, 2012
By: Rosie Hill
One of the biggest tests for a relationship is the transition from secondary school to university, and I won’t sit here and pretend I found it easy. In all honesty it’s rubbish. I come from a small town, and got together with my boyfriend at the end of year 11. We got through GCSE’s, and then A-levels together, and when I mentioned wanting to travel before university, we begin planning the trip of a lifetime together. When I say I come from a small town, I really mean a small town. Everyone knows everyone and it’s very hard to avoid anyone! My boyfriend lives about ten minutes away so I got used to seeing him every day for the first few and a half years of our relationship. We then went travelling together for five months which truly was – and I know everyone says it – a once in a lifetime experience. I wouldn’t have wanted to share it with anyone else, and when we came back we were closer than ever.
We were both going to university; him to Southampton and me to Canterbury, and saying goodbye to him before we both moved was horrible. I was a complete and utter emotional wreck. You hear horror stories before you start, everyone tells you it will never work and the distance will just be too hard. I am a very stubborn person so I simply ignored everyone. My best girl mates from home were a university year ahead of me due to my gap year, and three out of six of them broke up with their boyfriends in the first term. It is hard and anyone who tells you it’s easy is lying. Freshers week isn’t too bad, you’re caught up in the excitement of the whole thing and barely have time to sleep let alone mope around. I found it hardest when you settle into a routine. I’d got so used to Dan being a ten minute walk away that him being four hours on the train away was difficult. We took it in turns to visit each other every few weeks, depending on what either of us had going on in regards to deadlines. After the first time he visited and I dropped him at the train station, I went back to my room and cried. And then surprisingly it gets easier.
For once in my life I found myself not being referred to as part of a couple – another curse of a small town – and was known for myself. Being in a place where Dan and I had no memories or special places makes it easier. It wasn’t like I’d be walking down in Canterbury high street and suddenly I’d remember one time when we’d been there. Canterbury was just for me. It was my place, with my friends and my memories. After a month or so I was used to being apart. I’d still ring him up if something exciting happened, and we still spoke every night before bed, but I wasn’t moping around not enjoying university. I refused to let myself become one of those girls who won’t go on a night out because their boyfriend’s not there, that’s bloody ridiculous. I thoroughly made the most of first year, and when he came to me, or I went to him, we simply slipped back into a routine together.
It isn’t all sunshine and daisies though. Of course I got mildly obsessive when he was tagged in photos with girls on a night out, or didn’t call when he said he would. Then I pulled myself together. My best friends at university are single, so naturally on a night out they’re off out ‘on the pull’ and I frequently get the look from guys when I say I have a boyfriend. You’d think I told them I had the plague. My girls don’t understand sometimes. I know university is supposed to be the time of your life without any restrictions, and your chance to go a bit wild before becoming a grown up. But I don’t see having a gorgeous boyfriend who loves me to bits as a restriction?
There’s no pretending that all relationships survive university, and maybe I’ve just been lucky. You do have to work at it, be honest with each other and don’t pretend everything’s okay if you’re worried about something. But also don’t become one of those crazy girlfriends who Facebook stalk every girl who’s tagged in a photo with them, your imagination will get the better of you and you’ll just create problems where there aren’t any. Don’t let having a boyfriend restrict your life! I have just finished my second year at Canterbury, and Dan is no longer at university but working full time. He comes up every other weekend to see me and we are still together and happy five years down the line. University is about my future and I refuse to let it impact ours.