Every Harvard freshman receives “The Unofficial Guide: Your College Bucket List,” a little red and black book detailing the top 100 activities every college student should attempt.Although many detail storied traditions (“celebrating” on the John Harvard statue or running naked around the Yard before finals), the 31strecommendation is a little different: “Date Someone: It’s harder than you think.” As the opening line quips: “You might think you have four years to find your soul mate at Harvard. You have exactly one week: It was at Orientation, and if you didn’t fall in love then, you never will.” The writers are joking, but the analogy that “dating at Harvard is just about as common as getting C’s” does not always seem far from the truth.It’s easier to stimulate short attention spans, and the lack of commitment means less time and emotional investment. Why waste time building a relationship when we can get what we need (or at least finish stat homework on time) without the untidiness of feeling?
A recent Crimson survey found that one in five undergraduates never dates during college here.
Having a consistent, labeled relationship is not for everyone.
Choosing to make our academic and social lives mutually exclusive may be the simplest path, but is it the one we should choose?
As a Crimson writer lamented in 2010, “Everyone here puts their work first, believing that in the long run, an on-time Gov 20 paper will be more beneficial than a potentially-awkward date with last Saturday’s hook-up.” The key word is “potential.” Although it sometimes seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day or storage in our hearts for the uncertainty of pursuing and caring for someone else, we may lose out on promising possibilities when we refuse to take the risk of putting ourselves out there.
And if the date fails, how bad, really, is the resulting “awkwardness” or a week’s worth of lost pride, especially in comparison with what we stand to gain?