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Love and Relationship: Catholic Campus Stereotype and Freedom

Love surrounds us, many different kinds. Friendships, relationships and families make or break our mental health. However, college throws us into a sea of uncertainty while we still manage to find ourselves, kind of.

Every relationship is different and a universal answer regarding dating in college has yet to be answered, especially at Benedictine College. Even still, thousands of professionals devote their life to romantic studies.

Annette Szproch wrote an article for elitedaily.com stressing how relationships are different for everyone.

“Society makes us feel that if we haven’t figured out ourselves by our mid-20s, we have lived and are continuing to live incorrectly. The majority of us have future plans and hope to be at a certain point by a certain age, but that isn’t always the reality of the situation,” Szproch said.

The topic of romantic relationship and pressure in college was discussed with students on campus from different walks of life: single, engaged and married.

There was a common issue towards relationships from the students interviewed.

Margaret McCann is a transfer, senior, currently engaged and expressed this theme.

“The Benedictine dating culture (or lack thereof) is a fascinating mix of pressure to find your spouse as quickly as possible, but also pressure to date the one person God is calling you to marry,” McCann said.

Julia Lassitner, senior, was married on Aug. 16th. She agrees, focusing more on the longing women pursue.

“Girls look around and see all of these happy couples who found their spouse in college and think “what’s wrong with me? Why haven’t I found that?” Nobody is making them feel that way,” Lassitner said. “There’s a certain desire and fulfillment that we all seek to find a significant other, something that a lot of us rely on way too much, even myself!.”

This stereotype leads with a strong foot forward, towards a lack of casual dating.

Danielle Fuller, senior, is intentionally single and explains this pressure.

“This is harsh because it is not exclusive to all walks of life. I think this pressure also sometimes leads some to the wrong guy due to just needing to find a guy,” Fuller said. “I honestly sometimes think that this pressure feeds into our spiritual life.”

McCann expressed her opinion in a comical and expressive way, most students on campus can relate to.

“I think this culture causes men to be afraid to ask a girl on a date, because within 18 hours everyone on campus and their second cousin will know about it and the wedding date. They aren’t making lists of possible baby names for their first 28 kids,” McCann said.

Disregarding this stereotype and the effects existing on campus, each person seems to be content with the situation they have been given.

However, future plans as a college student and their relationship status affect each other.

Being intentionally single was something Fuller pursued when becoming a missionary, but has found much more joy in her freedom received from it.

“I get to make decisions only between me and the Lord. This is so much easier to follow the Lords will for my life when I don’t have the noise of pleasing others,” Fuller said.

From single status to engaged, McCann receives independence similarly, but finds delight in her dependence on the man she plans to marry in 2021.

She plans to continue to teach learning disabled students after college.

“I am happy with the decisions I have made. That being said with every decision in life there are roads untaken. I think everyone has ‘what ifs’ in their life. But I am very confident with my plans for the future,” McCann said.

Lassitner expressed her decision to marry, even as a senior in college, brings pure happiness in her life. The decision to sacrifice has influence over everything.

“Let me repeat: I could not be happier. I’m not living for myself anymore, I’m living for my spouse; and there is something so much more fulfilling about living for someone else,” Lassitner said. “Sacrifice makes you so much more yourself.” 

A common theme for relationships at Benedictine was pressure, but something each of them received was just the opposite, freedom.

While digging for relationship advice in college, I instead found the unspoken and fearful environment existing at Benedictine, resulting in pressure on both men and women who seek to pursue relationships.

Not only does this pressure exist at Benedictine College, but also from society. We are told about the freedom received from an individualistic point of view, and also feel pressured to get in a romantic relationship. Where do we go?

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