With university comes a new era. Learning to become independent, to cook, to clean, to budget, brings a new wave of freedom. You’re finally becoming an adult, no longer treated as a child, with the responsibilities and benefits that accompany this. Is this independence really all it’s cracked up to be? Or freedom just one step closer to us turning into our parents, far earlier than we ever expected?
Everyone remembers their first love. Whether they become your future partner, or the relationship crumbles into a mess on the floor, the experience is still one never to be forgotten, but can that feeling ever last?
When the topic of sex is brought up with parents in the room, everyone’s mind fills with dread. The horror that fills your mind when your sex life is the agenda, “you mean my parents don’t think I’m still a virgin even though they’ve walked in on me twice?”, is bad enough, but what about your parents sex life? Old people don’t have sex. However if this new found independence means we’re turning into them, does that mean your sex life, and furthermore your love life, will turn into theirs too? It goes through every person’s head at one stage that they will never become too old for sex, but is this already changing?
Whether you’re in a long-distance relationship and don’t see your other half for weeks on end, or you came to university to enjoy the freedom of single life, love becomes a tricky situation. Are love and sex compatible anymore, or are we doomed to turn into our parents where sex is an absurdity?
Aside from a healthy sex life, the meaning we all forget around love when it comes to Valentine’s day is that of platonic love, or the love we share with our families. For many of us, university life brings with it a group of course mates or flatmates who become our “new family”. This can lead to phone calls to our parents being delayed for weeks on end, catch-ups over Facebook becoming a mess of six paragraphs every month with those best friends from school who we simply couldn’t have survived adolescence without. How have those loved ones suddenly become such an insignificant part of our lives?
Furthermore, university life is one full of opportunities. We chase internships, throw ourselves into societies, begin to recognise and develop our own talents and interests, all of which can be healthy in promoting a feeling of self-love. Yet soon, this love of self replaces our inherent need to love and to be loved. In a way, this is positive. We learn to become more independent individuals and many of us tend to seek validation and admiration from others much less in favour of success in our coursework, making a difference on campus through societies, creating art and excelling at sports.
However, when love is left behind, can this also have a detrimental impact upon our lives? In a time-famished generation, the psychological benefits of talking to people are known by everyone. The NHS offers “talking therapy” to deal with mental health issues, stating that “it’s an opportunity to look at your problems in a different way with someone who will respect you and your opinions”. This is obviously in reference to a professional therapist, and often while our parents and friends might have our best interests art heart, it’s easy to argue that they simply don’t know what they’re talking about. Occasionally it’s a lot easier to talk to someone who knows the whole story. Those who we’ve known us since the beginning of primary school, or since we had to get our first set of braces, or even since before we were born, will inevitably know the background and personality behind any issues we might be experiencing.
Unless they’re evil super villains in disguise, the people who love us probably want what is best. Talking and relaxing with a loved one really is beneficial to our mental health, especially in helping us to maintain a constant such as a parent, sibling or childhood friend in a world full of new jobs, a new home, studying at a new level and other upheavals.
Next time you feel too busy for love, ask yourself if you can really afford not to set aside time for it. If you can squeeze in time for a night of sex with your “new love”, chances are you can also squeeze in a coffee with those who really will listen and who want you to succeed.