ThreeSixty Journalism: College students’ advice to teens: Love can wait

THREESIXTY JOURNALISM

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love, crushes, and relationships are on the minds of many teenagers. Teen dating can sure get complicated, so luckily, college students at the University of Minnesota were willing to share their dating experiences and advice for their younger peers.

When asked what advice they would give their 16-year old selves if they had the chance, there were a variety of different answers. One recurring theme in the students’ advice was commitment. Many people seem to think that teens’ relationships are worthless because they aren’t serious and don’t last, but many of the college students who were interviewed advised teens not to get too serious or committed.

“Don’t get into a really committed relationship. Be open to meeting new people, because when you’re that young, you shouldn’t be tied down. Don’t be like: ‘This is the one.’ You miss out on meeting other people,” said Tom Baron, 19, who is originally from St. Cloud.

Gabriel Rodriguez, 28, from Spain, echoed Tom’s statement. “If I could go back to being a 16 year old, I wouldn’t have spent so much time on one person, dating one girl for two years,” he said. “Just remember that life is really long. There are other things you can do besides having hopeless crushes and pining away.”

Brittany Shonka, 20, from Apple Valley, also suggested not taking high school relationships too seriously. “Just because a relationship looks good on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing for you. I would recommend listening to your father,” she said with a smile.

It is also very important to date different people to find out what qualities you want in a boyfriend or girlfriend, said Jevita Baheriy, 19, of St. Paul. “You’re not going to find the dream guy — ‘Mr. Right’ — right away, so you should find out what you like and don’t like about a guy,” she said.

“Be careful about who you date. Don’t waste time on guys that aren’t worth it and don’t treat you right. Demand respect,” Angel Gardner, 27, of Minneapolis, warned.

Cis Crabb, 21, of St. Paul, and Abeselom Sempre, 21, of Minneapolis also recommended being careful about your physical health while dating. “Make sure you are always using protection. There are STDs everywhere out there,” said who?

Many teens in high school worry that they’re not dating as many people as others are. “Don’t be worried about not dating enough people, because you still have many more opportunities in the future. In college, there are a lot more people to choose from,” Gabriel said.

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