It seems we’ve fallen out of love. We’ve forgotten how to take care of each other, but not even just how to care, but how to TAKE care of one another. At all. It seems within the collegiate social landscape in which we live, drink too many Monster energy drinks, party too hard and study all night, we’ve forgotten that we belong to one another.
There’s no mistaking that we’re on a college campus, and as is true of any social context; we learn rules and behaviors that ultimately dictate our relationships and encounters with those around us. How are we learning to define the relationships we have with one another? As our newsfeeds fill with #metoo, I can’t help but wonder: are we caring for one another? Are we doing enough to ensure that we are treating each other with love, respect, compassion and human dignity? Are our college campuses preparing us for lasting relationships and teaching us the importance of what it means to take of each other’s hearts?
It seems that more and more often today, we find ourselves hiding behind keyboards and pushing each other away using snapchat filters as disguises. We get drunk to share ourselves with people who will never really know us and ask for each other’s phone numbers after a few shots, claiming vunerablity (that’s just liquid cowardice). We slip away to bedrooms with strangers and undress without first undressing our hearts. We talk about “catching feelings” as if having feelings is a modern-day diagnosis for some fatal disease. We joke with our friends about “closing” and only disclose to our Uber drivers the next morning, crying to them about wanting something more when we’d never dare admit this to those closest to us. The way we “love” makes a living mockery out of the word. Have we simply learned how to break our own hearts?
Ask any undergraduate college student what the definition for hook-up is, and they’ll mutter back anything from kissing to sex, leaving us with no doubt as to why we’re all so confused what it means to “hook up” with someone. We associate two people together, label them “a thing” as if we’re supposed to have any idea what that means. I don’t claim innocence in this game so many play, but perhaps we’ve forgotten the importance of having feelings, rather than catching them. What it means to be IN-relationship with someone else. At some point, did we forget what the word “care” means? It seems we’ve turned to immediate gratification to find our answers, and left the “you” and “I” far behind.
I’d like to challenge the narrative of the hookup culture. Ask that we consider putting feelings first. Begin by being vulnerable with our hearts and being honest with those we care about. Strip away the notion that we are entitlted to one another’s bodies, that we can say and do and act however we want without consequence, without hurt. That we consider heartbreak and ask that we do less of it with each other, by being more considerate and more honest when we spend time together. The number of #metoo posts on social media is alarming, and as college campuses are simply microcosims of a much bigger world, I’d argue, we, as the students attending these colleges, have the opportunity to challenge the narrative of what it means to care. Care is patient, it is honest, it is kind. Shouldn’t our relationships exist in that way too?