The change in relationships from high school to college
College is very different from high school—that is undeniable. It’s a new environment, there is more work, and everybody has more freedom. This includes, of course, freedom with respect to relationships, whether social or sexual. There are more parties, more alcohol and more people. Especially at the beginning of the year, when nobody knows each other and very few people are dating, brief sexual relations abound.
Opinions on and perceptions of formerly hot topics, such as “hooking up,” are also quite different between the two institutions. “It’s much more laid back,” an anonymous freshman said. “In high school, if you hooked up, it was big news, and it traveled around. Now, it’s not such a big deal.”
Even behaviors such as one-night stands, something that was certainly unheard of or at the very least taboo in high school, are not novel. While not nearly as commonplace as hookups, they definitely exist and are by and large accepted as part of the “college experience.” This is made easier by the adoption of informal “sexiling” agreements between many freshmen and their roommates, providing a location for said encounters.
Why does this happen? It could be due to a plethora of things: The first time away from home, some sort of attempt to “break free” from parents and family, a release of pent-up frustration (sexual or otherwise) or even an attempt to create a fresh start for themselves after high school.
There appears to be one common denominator upon which everybody agrees, however. “The alcohol plays a big part. When kids get drunk, they’re more likely to do it,” a sophomore said, “Also, there are a lot of frat parties.”
To be sure, fraternities appear to foment this type of atmosphere, throwing parties almost every weekend, allowing numerous freshmen inside—in essence, giving them free reign.
This culture exists parallel to and in uneasy conjunction with the numerous freshmen who have retained significant others from high school. They obviously do not partake in said lifestyle, instead traveling to visit their boyfriends or girlfriends on weekends. They are not truly an exception, however, as the time afforded to them by their significant other is certainly free from oversight by authority figures—within reason.
One cannot truly pass moral judgment on the casual hookup culture, however, as it is neither a positive or a negative force. College is the first time most people are able to be truly independent, and being able to hook up or have one-night stands is a facet of that ability that many students take advantage of.
Coupled with this is the fact that the college environment causes a big push in that direction. It’s just like when you are first introduced to something—you do it a lot and gradually taper off. For some people, college is that introduction (to sexual freedom), and the rest of their life is the attenuation.