It’s occurred to all of us—you’re rapidly ascending the steps of Lerner in scorching pursuit of a desk in bustling Ferris. You simply completed your morning courses and are ravenous. And you then spot them ready in line to swipe into the eating corridor, eyes squinting and head swiveling as they try to seek out their group of pals among the many mass of scholars; it’s the particular person you met late within the again nook of Mel’s on a drunken Saturday evening and subsequently went dwelling with.
The early afternoon daylight is weak and harsh on everybody’s drained faces. They order a salami sandwich when you stand subsequent to them, immobile and internally panicking. What do you do? Your first intuition is to show round and stroll in the wrong way, embarrassed that you’re totally clothed and utterly sober. Reality be informed, they’ve by no means seen you on this state earlier than. You’ll be able to really feel your outdated hookup stare at you, however you insist on wanting straight forward. You lastly summon the braveness to show to satisfy their gaze, however they already grabbed their lunch and left to seek out their pals.
Why are we Columbia college students so uncomfortable with the emotional intimacy that accompanies sexual encounters? We appear to continuously put ourselves into these painfully awkward conditions which may by no means totally resolve till one in every of us graduates from the College. We appear to routinely ignore these with whom we’ve shared probably the most intimate of contact.
Informal intercourse at Columbia is as widespread as discovering vomit in a Carman elevator or somebody popping Adderall in Butler 209. For a lot of college students who’re busy and burdened by heavy course hundreds and membership involvements, it’s far too simple and attractive to decorate up and head to Mel’s or 1020 on a Saturday evening to blow off steam, return to their room, and have mediocre, drunken intercourse. Within the second, the temporary however intense blast of enjoyable is unbelievably interesting.
A dedicated and lasting relationship is elusive at Columbia; it’s uncommon that two individuals resolve to change into unique and truly date. Why dance with only one particular person if there are previous (and future!) hookups abound at any of the a number of events or bars you frequent? Why make investments time in a budding romantic relationship if the promise of informal intercourse is all over the place on a Saturday evening? Regardless of this treasure trove of open-ended “options” right here at Columbia, there are such a lot of nights that finish at Koronet, drunk and doubtless very alone. There are a number of weekends in a row the place nobody appears remotely enthusiastic about sleeping with you or vice versa, and so that you as soon as once more return to your dorm room alone and go to sleep with the lights on (and if you happen to put on it, in all probability your make-up, too).
The blatant worry to get to know the individuals you sleep with is crippling and sometimes embarrassing. After I requested a good friend if she ever thought of hanging up a dialog with a previous hookup, she mused, “What would I have in common with them, anyway?” That is, I’ve come to understand, what number of Columbia college students really feel (and the college’s “burn the candle at both ends” tradition doesn’t assist). So, insecure in themselves, many Columbia college students can typically instantly consider the concept the person who they’ve most just lately slept with would discover them irritating, uninteresting, dumb, or any mixture of the three.
My self-image and emotions about romantic encounters have reworked profoundly since my first NSOP celebration. All through my first 12 months, I typically discovered myself panicking on the considered having anybody get to know me in any sort of deep, exceptional manner—why would anybody be enthusiastic about attending to know the “real” me if I didn’t even know who or what I used to be and might be? I didn’t know the way to contribute to the Columbia group in a significant manner, each socially and academically. I swore off relationships, citing them as a distraction from the crucial job of “doing EVERYTHING!” I selected to disregard potential lovers as an alternative of attending to know them as a type of self-preservation.
As a senior, I’m lastly in a position to take delight in my very own relationships—romantic and platonic—and spend money on them correctly as a result of I’m slowly studying to consider that I’m worthy of different individuals’s consideration, friendship, and love (and that they’re worthy of mine). Constructing relationships is part of a wholesome, full life and shouldn’t be ignored. I’m now in a significant romantic relationship with somebody I deeply take care of—proof in my private pudding of aplomb, which grows steadily, albeit slowly.
And so, to all my outdated boos: Hey, how’s it going? I hope that this time, you’ll say hey again.
The writer is a present senior at Barnard Faculty learning French and Francophone research. She’s overseas for a second time in Paris, in order that’s why you haven’t seen her round campus (or else she’d completely say hey). If you wish to share your opinion, disagree, or get suggestions in your subsequent journey to Paris, shoot her an e-mail at [email protected].