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Grace Amsden, Editor-in-Chief
Students at Pierce College Puyallup may take on another ‘hearty’ role besides being a student. They also may be in a romantic relationship. Perhaps it’s the “special someone” they are texting during class or grasping hands with while walking through the College Center.
“You see it a lot in high school, you also see it a lot in college and you see it a lot in work environments,” Faculty Counselor at the Puyallup campus Jennifer Wright said. “Because that’s where you’re spending the majority of your time, and those are the people that you’re spending the majority of your day around. It’s just natural that you would then probably find yourself being in a relationship with someone.”
Whether the words are cringe worthy or enough to trigger butterflies in the stomach, Feb. 14 is an inevitable reminder of love, which includes the idea of romantic relationships. Valentine’s Day isn’t primarily for romantic couples, though. For student Sierra Mensonides, this holiday is an expression of love to anyone. This year, she plans on spreading the love toward her friends.
“I was thinking about writing a few letters to each of my friends and encouraging them and sharing how much I care about them,” Mensonides said.
Some couples may choose to show their affections by giving each other gifts, going out to eat or to see a movie, perhaps doing things they wouldn’t normally do on an ordinary day.
Students Dayna Wilhelm and Justin Fingerle, currently in a relationship, hope to go and play lazer tag if they aren’t scheduled to work.
“It’s our first Valentine’s Day together,” Wilhelm said.
Yet, the true meaning behind Valentine’s Day isn’t limited to a single day, and romantic relationships don’t exclusively exist just on this holiday. When it comes to daily life and relationships, college students can have a great deal of commitments depending on the amount of activities they’re involved in. Besides college courses, this can be a job, social life or personal activities.
According to results from a random survey conducted by The Puyallup Post, 18 out of 20 students said they have a busy day-to-day schedule. Someone can have a top priority for their significant other, but find that it’s not easy to find the time to be a full-time college student and share hearts with another person.
A relationship must be nurtured, and an individual in a relationship must make time for it, Wright said.
“Often times, I see students come in that are really struggling with how to prioritize with all those things because work, school and relationships are all very important to them,” Wright said.
Suppose a student is taking three classes beginning at 9 a.m. each day and ending at noon. After class, they work at their job until 5 or 6 p.m. When this individual returns home, it’s not necessarily time for complete relaxation. There’s still the weight of school latched onto them: the homework, text-heavy textbook chapters, assignments and notes. Professors often recommend the guidelines of spending at least two hours per every hour spent in class to study for the course. After arriving home at 6 p.m., the amount of work might take until 10 or 11 p.m., if not later.
“If you’re in class all day long, you would have less time to be with the person or to invest with the person and it could get difficult,” student Jonathan Kurtz said. “But I think if you care about the person enough, it shouldn’t be an obstacle for you.”
Between managing a busy schedule and romantic relationship, about half of the 20 students surveyed find it hard to manage both of these at a time.
A relationship can serve as a distraction to some students in terms of class and studying while others may not have a problem, Wright said.
“It’s important to not get caught up in one over the other,” student Jared Westerman said, “But it’s not too tricky, I don’t think, to balance it.”
In the past, Westerman had a college relationship, and worked on homework during times that wouldn’t always interfere with times available for hanging out.
“We’d do homework together and kill two birds with one stone there,” Westerman said. “The other times, I’d just do it while they (past girlfriend) were in class or in the morning when I woke up: times I normally wouldn’t hang out with them, anyway.”
For Wilhelm and Fingerle, it’s usually on work days when they have difficulty finding time to be together, Fingerle said.
“We both know that we both have classes and homework, so we respect that and at the same time we just spend time together when we can,” Wilhelm said.
Wilhelm and Fingerle don’t have the same classes together, yet work on homework while being together and don’t find it to be distracting.
“I think it’s actually pretty helpful being with someone else,” Fingerle said. “It kind of helps me get my homework done.”
There’s not a definite answer as to whether time management with a relationship can work for everyone, Wright said. There also isn’t a standard that while in college each student must have a relationship. Perhaps a student wants to focus on school, relationships with friends/family and engage in other activities.
Being a college student with a relationship is possible, yet this depends on how they can manage their priorities.
“I think that it just depends on the person,” Wright said. “Our threshold for stress levels vary just depending on what our norm is.” [/responsivevoice]
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost