One area of life that seems to generate more questions than any other is that of romantic relationships. How should I act around guys/girls? When should I date? Who should I date? What should I look for? Should I get married young or wait till I’m older?
What advice might professors have about relationships?
Dr. Greg Miller, history professor, encourages students to exercise patience first and foremost when thinking about relationships.
“Students shouldn’t be in a hurry to get into a relationship,” Miller said. “And definitely don’t base your sense of worth or identity on having a boyfriend or a girlfriend.”
Perhaps the largest complaint about the Malone dating scene is the apparent obsession with marriage. Dr. Cherie Parsons, assistant director of English and director of composition, agrees with this sentiment.
“Students shouldn’t feel a pressure to graduate with a fiancé or spouse,” Parsons said. “I think many students, especially females, feel like they need to be married to fulfill God’s calling for them. I’m not sure exactly what the ideal dating scene would look like, but I think it should look different.”
Dr. Mark Jakowski, associate professor of education, believes that college can be a great time to be sensitive to God’s leading.
“Rather than looking for a mate, allow this to be a time when there is an undistracted devotion to God,” Jakowski said. “This is one of the last times when you can be solely and only devoted to God, and I think he can do some really special, lifelong things during that time.”
Communication between guys and girls can be tricky to decipher.
“One important thing I have learned since college is that girls think differently. and that’s not wrong, it’s just different,” Jakowski said. “I think group dating is a great place to learn how to relate to the opposite gender. Exclusive dating is a different ballgame. Unless there’s a chance for marriage in the future you probably shouldn’t exclusively date. Guys need to hear that especially.”
Miller, Parsons, and Jakowski are not opposed to dating. They simply encourage students to be patient and not feel pressure to find someone special immediately.
Miller laid out some basic things to look for in someone you might be interested in.
“You’re going to want someone who has a common faith with you,” Miller said. “That’s kind of like the foundation or bedrock. A second thing to look for is a shared expectation about the future.”
“Shared interests are important, but I think they tend to be overrated because people’s interests change,” Miller said. “One other important thing to watch is how they treat their parents and their friends.”
As a final piece of advice, Miller added that “there should be something that amazes you about the other person.”
Relationships can be hard and complicated. Young college students might benefit greatly from seeking the advice of their older and potentially wiser professors.
Cory Veldhuizen is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.