Relationships 101: Love Tips for Co-Eds

Relationship 101: Love Tips for Co-Eds
ESSENCE.COM Sep, 14, 2009

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We all remember those days of leaving home for the first time, and now it’s the turn of thousands of young women to settle in to campus life. Now that you’ve bought books and started classes, here’s the lowdown on coupling up at college. Graduates should share your experiences and tips below.

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We know you are mature for your age, so beware men who prey on the ripeness of freshman and college students. At Florida A&M University, Dr. Yolanda Bogan, Director of the Office of Counseling Services, shares how local men take advantage of the open campus atmosphere to prey on students. A book bag isn’t enough proof, so ask suitors about classes and professors. The fellas are also taking notes on your reaction to random guys.

“Guys are watching,” she says. “They know by sophomore or junior, who the respectable young ladies are.”

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Now that the parents are gone, it’s time to get comfortable in the skin you’re in. Welcome your sexuality (which doesn’t have to mean having sex) with open arms. You only get this experience once, so make the most of it, while remaining true to you.

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Forget all the romantic comedies you’ve watched and enjoy dating for just what it is—a chance to meet someone and learn something new. Don’t worry if every guy isn’t what you envisioned for a husband. He may just be meant to show you a great spot to get hoagies or put you on to some underground artists.

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We know you’ve heard it because it’s worth repeating—keep an eye on your drink on dates and at parties. Date rape is real and happens every day.

And you are just as cool if you pass instead of puffing that rolled item coming your way. You have no idea what other toxins have been added and you will thank yourself during tomorrow’s exam.

“One of the primary side effects of [marijuana] is memory loss,” Dr. Bogan points out.

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The world really is at your fingertips—and so are any crazy pictures or video you take. Don’t broadcast your innermost thoughts or locations for any guy on campus to find online. Let your new guy make the first move on profile linking.

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And when you do settle down with a great guy, don’t forget the other special people in your life. Be cautious of any man who doesn’t want you spending time with your friends or family, Dr. Bogan points out, it’s a tact of abusers to cut off your lifelines.

“Although quantity of time may be different of what you can spend with your friends, those relationships are more likely to be lasting,” she adds.

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We love you so we’re keeping it real: pregnancy can be the least of your problems with unsafe sex, as Black women have the highest rates of new HIV/AIDS infections in the country. And anyone who wouldn’t want you protected doesn’t deserve the pleasure of your company. Before your movie night for two, grab male and female condoms from the health center.

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Sex isn’t child’s play and involves more than just your body. Make sure your heart and mind are up for the task too. Also, know that if a man just wants to be friends, having sex won’t change how he feels (trust us, we’ve tried).

“Students underestimate the emotional responsibility of being in a sexual relationship,” Dr. Bogan points out. “They misjudge the commitment from the other person and that can be stressful.”

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Deciding to get your grown woman on also includes acting like an adult when it comes to your health. Dr. Bogan suggests getting tested every three to six months, and you do have a right to ask to see any potential lover’s test results.

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It’s National Campus Safety Awareness month, and colleges are a hot bed for domestic violence. Know you are not alone if you encounter an abusive partner. Get out immediately, as the chances are strong he will hit again, and you deserve better.

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This is a special time in your life, so enjoy and make decisions that you will be happy with years from now. Let people earn your trust, and know you deserve the best life and love there is to offer.