ESPOSITO: Lack of monogamy among students due to overwhelming responsibilities they face


Column: Unapologetically

With the national marriage rates declining every year, there are constant debates as to why. 

As we progress as a society, some argue that humanity as a whole is moving away from marriage, that it is more of a social construction. Others argue that it is more of a title on paper and has begun to mean less as we become a more secular society. But a new study points fingers at a different culprit: college students. 

It is now factual that young people are moving farther and farther away from long-term relationships. Many factors indicate that it directly correlates to more and more young adults going away to college. 

It is true that getting a college degree is now a priority to become financially stable in life. In past generations, college was far less prioritized and not as required for many secure jobs. But now, as the work force grows more competitive, college degrees are becoming a must-have. 

College students are now focusing more on education and securing a degree. But they are also putting behind secure long-term relationships. Individual stability is now seen as much more important, with girlfriends and boyfriends becoming much more of a rarity on college campuses. A lot of it does have to do with the preoccupation of schoolwork. Also to blame is the culture college students have created for themselves.

The hookup culture on college campuses have taken away the concept of dating the generations before us have used. Between 60 and 80 percent of college students in North America have had “hookups” as opposed to relationships, according to a study in The Atlantic.

While many researchers question why, it seems there are many reasons to blame, one of them being the economy.

Young people are so set on finding jobs and securing internships, it becomes challenging to put time and effort into anything for themselves, including love. It is not enough to just attend college and earn a degree anymore. You have to participate in extracurriculars, be involved in volunteer work, earn a stellar GPA and build up your resume in any way you can. On top of that, many students are financially in charge of themselves and have to work daunting hours at jobs while still being a full-time student.

It is great to be well-rounded and great to be involved in many things, but as these students progress intellectually, they negatively progress emotionally. It is not because they are not capable of love and relationships, they just simply do not have the time for it anymore.

Humans want emotional connections and college students are seriously lacking them. They fear attachments and fear the commitment that comes with them, because they fear they are not emotionally equipped to handle them. When you are spread so thin, you begin to doubt what you are even capable of giving.

So, hookup culture flourishes. It is quick, easy and the best way to relieve your wants without having to give much else. For college students who look down on that, many of them revert to having no romantic relations at all. When college students were asked about their romantic lives on campus, many said they would like to participate in relationships but were fearful of hookup culture and did not know how to work around it, according to a study from The Seattle Times

Some people cannot handle relationships in college. For some, it is a really positive experience. But for many, with everyone else left to deal with, it has become a burden. 

So as relationships continue to decline, we must remember as a society everything we have given college students to deal with and why their love lives are no longer a priority.

Laura Esposito is in the School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in journalism and political science. Her column, "Unapologetically," runs on alternate Tuesdays.

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