Work Before Play…or Just Before Relationships?

In looking over the past blogs, “Blog 6 – Relationships?” caught my eye. By simply reading the introductory words from many of the students’ posts, I was able to get an overall impression of an assigned video the class viewed. It dealt with a decrease in meaningful relationships in Japan, resulting in a decreasing population. One post, by Matt, connected the video to our current culture at Bucknell. As a senior, I found I completely agreed with his statement that “it’s pretty common to experience a transition from having lots of free time, to having seemingly no free time by senior year”. He argues that we learn to take on more and be as efficient as possible in order to obtain a job after college. There is a force that pushes us to become “more and more efficient without taking into account whether that is what [we] actually need”.

While I didn’t agree with all of his arguments, I do find that there’s a pressure and desire to take on more and more extracurriculars and activities while at Bucknell, which adds up to less and less time for friends or close relationships. There’s a social norm for both men and women to avoid a full-blown relationship while at college, instead focusing on relieving the stress of academics and extracurriculars through nights out and casual hook-ups. When my parents attended Bucknell, long-term, serious relationships were not viewed as striking or unique as they are now; in fact, engagements were commonplace senior year and highly celebrated in the Greek community. A comment on Matt’s post notes, “Almost universally…women said they did not plan to marry until their late 20s or early 30s”.

What was most interesting about this assignment was, in the days after reading Matt’s post, I took note of many instances when my friends’ conversations highlighted opinions about relationships at Bucknell. Though their comments were often formed as jokes, I realized there truly has been a shift in our values as students. A few of my friends observed that many guys at school would never dream of a serious relationship while in college, and that only when they settle down and have a career might they consider a significant other. Another is in the beginnings of a relationship with a Bucknell alumnus who has done just that – he now has a steady job in New York and is finally considering a long-term commitment. Collectively, the friends agreed they would only marry around 27, if that. I hadn’t given relationships much thought until reading the past blog posts, and now I realize we may truly be a society that devalues relationships in exchange for busy lives that will ensure us an impressive resume for an interview, job offer, and eventual career. Is this beneficial? Or could it lead more of us to be unhappily married to our jobs, rather than spouses?

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