‘There wasn’t enough space in my life’: Why I chose to stay single in first year

18 Jul 2019,
By Gioia D M., Student at University of Glasgow

Leaving high school, I made a choice: my first year at university would be reserved entirely for myself. That meant leaving behind any relationship I’d had previously, as well as making the choice to remain single for the upcoming year.

It wasn’t at all a hard choice, it was what I wanted. By the time I sat my A-Levels, I was ready for a new beginning on every front.

So here’s why I decided to stay single for my first year at university.

1) The first year is busy enough as it is

Moving out and starting somewhere new can feel overwhelming. I found it incredibly difficult at first adjusting to all the changes around me - moving away from home, being part of new social dynamics, and simply having to go grocery shopping (so much choice!).

The mere thought of adding on top of everything a new relationship almost made me want to throw up. Not that there wasn’t the option to date (there was). I just felt there simply wasn’t enough space in my life to deal with all these new levels of adulthood plus a romantic interest. So I happily chose to give up on that aspect for the year in order to focus on everything else.

2) I wanted to be independent and selfish

I think your university experience should be one that changes you - month by month, year by year, you should grow in new and fantastic ways. Throughout the year, I have grown into a completely different version of myself. I am more comfortable in my own skin, more confident to speak out, and a lot happier in this newfound sense of independence.

I enjoyed my year because, for once, I got to be a little selfish about how I spent my time. I felt free to not check my phone for hours, to sprawl all over the bed taking up as much space as I wanted, and to come and go as I pleased without having to check with anyone. I simply learned to enjoy my own company and deepen the bonds with new friends I’d made throughout the year.

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3) I didn’t want to feel insecure and jealous

At uni, every day is a new opportunity to meet someone new. It’s not like when you’re at school and you’re stuck with the same people all the time. I mean, just by going to the library I fall in love about ten times a day!

This year I felt that being in a relationship would somewhat hinder that. Especially if it was a long distance relationship, I think it would have been quite hard to feel secure and not be the slightest bit jealous of who the other person was meeting.

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4) I know there’s plenty of time to find love

I’m not yet at a stage where I could be seriously tied down to one person for the rest of my life. Particularly in my twenties, there is going to be so much change that I think I should understand who I am first - and I can’t expect to grow at the same speed as my potential partner.

Am I really ready to share food with another person? To give up on the freedom of singlehood? No, the answer is no. At uni, I feel there’s a sort of pressure to meet your ‘soulmate’. But I’m not going to rush into anything. I need to feel that I am at a good place with myself before I can love someone else, so I’ll take my time to discover and get to know me first.

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But, having said all that…

… I know I can’t plan everything and I should take life as it comes. If love comes, I’ll let it wash over me like there’s no tomorrow. Heartbreak, falling in and out of love - they’re a part of growing too. Even if they’re not the magical ‘one’, I could let myself be swept off my feet because every person, like every experience, is a lesson.

I loved taking this year to myself. But, even though I don’t feel like leaving the door completely open for love, I’ve left a window ajar. I’m not looking for anything, but you never know what might come through…

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By Gioia D M.
Student at University of Glasgow