The Curse of the Religious University

by racherickson

I don’t know what it is about religious universities but there’s this weird thing that you notice more here than anywhere else on the planet.

And that is relationships.

Couples are literally everywhere. Public display of affection is unavoidable. It’s disgusting and yet you want it. Unexpected kisses from your significant other while you work on assignments. Ridiculous handholding all the time. (Which I don’t think I could do because sweaty palms are my specialty!) There’s a yearning feeling that is accompanied with disgust. Polar opposites and complementary emotions. These two different emotions show up to the front door of your brain, hand in hand, waiting for you to acknowledge their presence.

I see you. We all see you. Always.

Every day, I watch as couples embrace. Young love (whether it be love or something else) apparently blossoms on my university grounds. Is it something in the water? Am I missing this special love fountain? Maybe. I don’t know.

It’s the worst in the spring. Couples sprout up like the springtime daisies. Beautiful, unexpected, but I must be allergic. My nose itches and my face crinkles and yet I want it. I crave the love that I see in others and yet it’s disgusting.

Maybe I’m a cynical 19 year old. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic. Maybe I’m stupid and obnoxious. Maybe I’m unreasonable but that’s me.

I embrace the emotions that knock at my front door. I let them in, fully aware of the things that they bring. Doubt, hopelessness, pessimism, yearning and an undying love for the unknown. Because I am a self proclaimed romantic. I’m silently, hopelessly, head over heels in love with the idea of being in love. I’m in love with the idea of being wanted. I’m in love with the idea of intimate conversations in a crowded restaurant. I’m in love with the idea of being able to go on long walks in complete silence and be comfortable. I’m in love with the idea of having stupid conversations because we can. I’m in love with the idea that I’ll find my significant other through an 20th century chat room and we will fall for each other without ever meeting. I’m in love with the idea of spotting someone across the room and feeling a spark. I’m in love with the idea of having your best friend be your one true love. I’m in love with the idea of secretly loving a person you used to despise. I’m in love with the idea of everything cheesy and cliché. I’m in love with the idea of love.

It’s the curse of a religious university. I don’t know why it happens and I sure as hell can’t stop it. I warn you all now, no matter who you think you are before you come to a university like my own, you will all of a sudden be in love with the idea of love. It’s absolutely ludicrous and unhelpful but there will come a time when it hits you.

But let me tell you now that if you’re in my situation of being in a hopeless love affair with the idea of love, never doubt your potential. Never doubt that you’re not good enough. Never doubt that you’re not pretty enough or smart enough or funny enough. Never be unhappy with yourself because you are the only you there is. It’s sounds so cheesy but I love it. Embrace yourself in all your glory because you’re fabulous for being yourself.

Don’t be overcome by sadness if you haven’t been in love. Don’t doubt yourself. That’s unreasonable and if you’re feeling this way, shake it off and forget about it. Be happy for those who are also happy, but be happy for yourself. Focus on being your own and work to become the person you want to be as an individual.

I read this quote a while back and I think it’s a great thing to remember when attending a Christian university like my own, and whenever you’re feeling worthless or unwanted.

“Stop being so afraid of never finding the right person to love you but rather, fear that you may never fall in love with yourself.” -Ming D. Liu