My first day back on campus I was once again stunned by the beauty of this campus. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I love St. Olaf and could not stay away. However, how can a school have so many amazing people who have never had the opportunity to get to know one another, say by dating? It is the great mystique of St. Olaf one which in my opinion needs multiple alterations.
At the University of Colorado, the weekends meant good times and companionship. Friday nights were for going out with the girls or the guys or party hopping and Saturday night was for going out on a date with whomever you met at the party on Friday. Am I mistaken or do we not have Saturday nights here? My guess is that Saturday nights have been spent on homework, playing video games or if someone is really daring drinking cheap alcohol with five other kids in a dorm room, heart pounding at every knock for fear that an RA may have caught your pity attempt at a party.
Although a party is a convenient way to meet a member of the opposite sex it is not the only way. St. Olaf offers more activities during which we can truly get to know people. Small classes, FCA, sports teams and more offer ample opportunities and we must seize them. I had thought that maybe Valentines Day would be an ideal time to seize the moment as my girls in Boulder had exciting plans with guys they randomly met the previous night. However, I didnt bother asking Olaf kids what their plans were because I knew I would get one of two answers: the practically married couples were indeed going out on a romantic date and the rest of the population was staying at home enjoying "Coyote Ugly."
I would be lying if I said that the girls in my sorority did not have boy problems. Our problems in Boulder were "that guy at the Phi Kapp party was totally into me, and asked for my number...but how long should I wait for him to call?" At St. Olaf this question would never be asked because the guy never got our number in the first place. I do not say this with the intention of blaming the guys, because dating takes two to be successful.
In fact, I have had many conversations with fellow Oles regarding the role of guys and girls in dating. The complaints have been from the girls that the guy never takes the initiative and likewise the guys complain that they never know if a girl is interested. Honestly, I think both are justifiable. Well ladies, let me tell you that we are a tricky breed, and while guys get most of the heat for being confusing, they are actually quite simple and we are the ones who play games. Girls, it is important to be clear. If you like a guy, talk to him. Find out what he is interested in and distinguish yourself from the ten billion other blond, cute, and intelligent girls at Olaf.
Boys, when you see a girl acting this way around you, dont be so naive. If I am not mistaken, most girls would be thrilled at the notion of a night out. With this in mind, it is a girls responsibility to be sensitive to a guy when he asks her out. It takes guts to ask a girl out, and if anything you should give him a chance.
I understand that what I am proposing requires us to all take a risk and step out of our comfort zone, something which I dont think many people at St. Olaf often experience. Girls, flirting is an art, but I am convinced most of us can figure it out and the only risk we take in showing a guy we like him is the possibility that he might not like us back. I bet that if you simply try it, you will find that most guys are impressed with assertiveness and if no spark is found at least you made a new friend.
Guys, I know the risk of rejection is greater, but believe me it is worth it. While rejection is never fun, it produces strength of character, and the sour will only make the sweet taste that much sweeter. Although Olaf is a great school, it does not do an adequate job of teaching us that less than perfect is okay and sometimes better. Because truly, speaking from personal experience, rejection hurts, but that rejection enables us to enter a relationship in which we are valued for everything that we are, and the richness of that romance parallels nothing else.
In no way am I prepared to spend the next year and half at Olaf, never going on a single date. They dont have to be fancy, but it is an integral part of going to college and being young. While CU and the Greek system may have been the epitome of the dating experience, I am not so much thinking that St. Olaf represents the norm. So, I leave you with a challenge. Girls, during the next week, find one thing to say to that cute boy who sits next to you in Biology. And guys, that girl you have been checking out every time you see her in the cafe actually has a name, and might tell it to you if you so much as ask.
I know that I am not the only 21-year -old with hormones, so I am a bit confused as to why it has taken so many years to discover that dating is nonexistent at Olaf. I have already taken the first step, bringing the taboo of dating out in the open, but the mission is far from complete. The rest is up to the student body of St. Olaf.