Students recall their experience with long-distance relationships while being a full-time student.

College freshmen experience a great deal of change in their first year.

They wrestle with busier schedules, adjusting to dorm life and avoiding the "freshman 15.”

Schoolwork takes up enough time for those college students, but many must balance a specific aspect of their social life, as well. Many juggle with long-distance relationships with their significant others back home or at different universities.

Incoming college freshmen in existing relationships hear the pessimistic notion from their peers and outspoken relatives many times: “It’ll never last once you get to college, it never does!” But even against the ominous warnings, many freshmen choose to continue those relationships into college and want them to succeed.

Caleb Ternent, a freshman studying screenwriting at Ohio University, began his relationship the summer before he started college.

He said one of the biggest struggles was when he and his girlfriend went off to separate schools — he to OU and she to the University of Cincinnati.

“I went from being able to see the girl I love every day — we lived 15 minutes apart — to seeing her every other weekend,” Ternent said. “That killed me during the first few weeks.”

Ternent said one of the key points of whether a relationship will succeed or fail is within the transition to college.

“It really depends on the strength of your relationship and how much you care for each other,” he said. “ If you didn’t take it seriously before college, you’re going to fail.”

Ternent said he feels optimistic about the distance as many freshmen in relationships often do.

“It’s really tough, but if you genuinely love this person, then what else can you do?” he said. “The time you two don’t get now just makes the time you do have together that much better.”

However, not every couple will succeed, as the stress is sometimes overwhelming.

Shelby Barga, a sophomore at Ohio Northern University studying pharmacy, ended a relationship with her boyfriend from high school after trying to make it work in college.

Barga said many of the problems in her relationship centered around the changing communication routines between them.

“It’s a known fact that emotions don’t show through texting, so when that’s the main form of communication between someone, all emotions are left out of the relationship and it’s like you’re talking to a wall,” she said. “You don’t feel anything. And when we did get the chance to talk on the phone or Skype, we didn’t really have anything to say since we’d been texting all day.”

Communication is difficult to maintain for any relationship, especially long distances ones. Ternent said communication needs to be “more than just texting.”

“If you don’t communicate you just won’t succeed,” Ternent said.

Barga said the relationship she was in kept her from flourishing socially. She was not having the full college experience.

“I feel like I didn’t experience college last year because I was always waiting for him,” Barga said. “He would have certain times that I would have to Skype him, and I would have to wait for him to get ready to Skype … whereas now I do the things that I want to do and take all the opportunities I can to experience typical college things.”

Mariah Sano, a junior studying dietetics at the University of Cincinnati, broke off her relationship in her sophomore year of college. She said she and her boyfriend just did not have the same ideas about what the future held for them after college.

“We were at different maturity levels and thought differently about the relationship,” Sano said. “In high school we were both young and dating for experience … but when it comes to college, especially going into multiple years in college, you start to think a lot more about after college.”

Although both Barga and Sano did not have a positive experience with making their relationships last, both still saw positives.

“I don’t regret it because I feel like I learned a lot of life lessons and that everything happened for a reason,” Barga said.

Ternent said the heartbreak can be worth it. He said now is not the time to lose hope in finding a significant other.

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“I know I’ll be written off as young and dumb and in love, and frankly I don’t care,” Ternent said. “I view it basically as trading or investing four years now and getting the rest of our lives together in return. … I’ve never done anything more worthwhile in my life.”


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