Among college students, love takes a back seat

Ian Sims

When I moved to Austin, I was ready to mingle. However, when the spring semester began and I picked up a new internship, I soon had no time to pursue romantic love. Apathy towards long-term relationships at UT is reflective of national data which shows only 28 percent of married college graduates are married to someone who attended their same college.

“People are less likely to marry during or immediately after undergraduate studies today than in the 1980s and 90s,”  said professor Kelly Raley, editor of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

Pew Research Center projects that one in four millennials will have never married by the time they reach their mid-40s to mid 50s — an all time high. The median age for marriage has also increased substantially, possibly due to looming financial insecurity.

Other reasons not to pursue love in college include classwork, studies, extracurriculars and jobs. With all of these responsibilities to balance, a potential dating pool of 50,000+ students at UT is irrelevant.

Psychology sophomore Patience Ojionuka said “I don’t prioritize dating right now — whatever happens, happens. College is hard, but at least my degree isn’t going to break up with me.”

These perspectives are not shocking when students at UT now devote more time to school than before. The average fall undergraduate course load jumped from 12.73 hours in 2000 to 13.38 hours in 2016. Although this difference initially seems small, it does not account for time spent studying outside of class. Furthermore, the number of students who work while attending college is greater than 70 percent, according to a study from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce.

It just isn’t practical to look for a long-term relationship when I have plans to attend law school in the future. Graduate school enrollment is on the rise and this enrollment often leads to students living in different states. Not to be a pessimist, but I wouldn’t want to try to engage in a long-distance relationship with hundreds of miles separating myself from my man.

Besides, marriage isn’t everyone’s end goal. More young people are experimenting with different forms of relationships, including open-relationships. Financial gain through a relationship is also something that can be achieved outside of marriage: Alternative relationship website Seeking Arrangement places UT Austin no. 11 on its sugar baby rankings with 714 student accounts.

Perhaps I will find my college sweetheart shortly after writing this. In the meantime though, I plan to focus on my studies in peace. Many students across the nation are doing the same.

Sims is an international relations and global studies sophomore from Houston.