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By 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Orientation had come to a close, teary-eyed parents were long gone, and the freshmen finally  finished setting up their bunks at Camp Claremont. Many of the new students found their little minds brimming with all of the sage advice that could possibly fit in a paper folder.  Use the writing center, go to the Ath, try Pitzer lunch – but, hey, that’s just the obvious stuff. What about the things that don’t come in your orientation packet?  Despite the best efforts of W.O.A.! Leaders and Sponsors, there are some crucial tidbits that still manage to fly under the radar. Don’t worry new campers, the Forum is here to help, offering a series of short letters from a reliable crew of both familiar faces and fresh, new voices.

To kick it off, sophomore Libby Friede from Philadelphia hits on the sensitive topic of the infamous high school sweetheart.

Dear Freshman,

If you’ve ever seen the movie Annie Hall you are familiar with a basic premise: boy meets girl, they fall in love, girl moves across the country. There are two potential ends to the story:
Boy and Girl realize someone needs to move so they can be together
Boy and Girl go their separate ways. Both have a hard time, and then they move on.

When I was a freshman, I moved from Pennsylvania to California. My boyfriend moved to  New York City. (The exact locations NYC and LA parallel the movie to perfection.) We watched Annie Hall and realized the Woody Allen-Diane Keaton conundrum was only a few weeks away from reality. After endless nights of talking about it and not talking about it, we decided to make it work. After all, we had technology on our side. How hard could it be with Skype, e-mail, Facebook, and cell phones? I arrived in California nervous and lonely. I didn’t know a single person, and it was so much easier to log onto Skype than open my  door and meet new people.

For three weeks we attempted a game of long distance ping-pong. He called, but I couldn’t pick up because of orientation. I called, and he had just started dinner. It was frustrating and isolating. I skipped out on so many parties and invitations to fro-yo because we had a Skype date, or I was on the phone. I was technically in Claremont but I was in this strange limbo-land, equal parts Philadelphia, New York, and Claremont. Finally, there was the fateful call: “this isn’t working.” At first, I felt even more alone. Then someone invited me to a Friday night performance of Without a Box (so good!). I almost said no out of habit, but I realized I didn’t have a phone call coming, so I went out. And then I had fun. Little by little, I went to more parties and more club meetings. I met more people and got out of my room and out of my shell.

I don’t write this letter of advice saying don’t have a long distance significant other. There are some people who do it; there are some people who can make it work. There are also plenty of people (freshman mostly) with a significant other across the country or around the world. They will probably say things like “we’re practically married” or “the distance makes us closer.” Hate to break it to you, but for a lot of you in this boat, the break-up wave is coming and it’s okay. It’s really hard to give 100% to making new friends and living in a new place when you feel so connected to somewhere else.

Break-ups are always tough, but they are even harder when you’re a million miles from home. Instead of making a playlist of sad songs, find someone in your hall to talk about it with. Chances are you are not the only one in the same situation.  Talking about your break-up is not only free therapy, you’ll probably get a really good friend out of it.

For those of you who do stay with your far-off significant other, make sure you give Claremont a shot. Try to get out there and make new friends. Whether you’re an alternative Allie or a preppy Pam, you can find your people here; you just have to go out and look for them. From classes to clubs to TNC, get out and meet people! I know this is advice that you’ve probably heard a million times but it’s true. If your mind’s tied to a lover across the country, your eyes on computer screen, and your ear glued to a phone, there’s a lot less room and a lot less time to meet people here that will become your Claremont family.

Peace, Love,  and Cheesesteaks,

Libby Friede

47 COMMENTS

  1. why can’t someone feel satisfied with their relationship and be happy not partying and going out every night?no one should deter students from taking a ‘less popular’ path and staying in a relationship and no one should feel like a freak bc they want to spend their time with their significant other

    • I believe what she meant was that if you are consumed by your relationship with your significant other, then you won’t be able to make friends at CMC as easily. And when you are new to school, you really do have to do things like go to social events or at the very least keep your door open in order to make friends. She’s not saying “break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend and go to TNC immediately.” She’s saying make sure your relationship doesn’t inhibit the relationships you make here. And that doesn’t have anything to do with popularity.

      • @”in a relationship”

        Let me pretend I’m not hopelessly romantic, and break out my econ/math major side:

        Statistically 98% of high school sweethearts break up. Therefore, it is a poor investment strategy to spend all your time as a freshman skyping/calling/texting your significant other. It is a much better strategy to diversify, and invest part of your time in your significant other and a large part of your time in meeting other people. With regards to romantic relationship this is especially true as roughly 50% of college students meet their spouse in college! Numbers don’t lie.

        @Kelsey

        Totally on point, as always!

        • Actually, it makes the most sense to keep your significant other because it’s a sunk cost. Only get rid of her when some other chica pulls you off the herd and bitches being bitches, she’ll likely only be interested in you because someone else sorta kind is.

          I believe Posner wrote on this… Looking for it out there…

          Just sayin’.

      • @Kelsey Brown

        You’re exactly right. As someone who was in a long distance relationship freshman year, I can honestly say that it sucks. The decision you have to make is whether or not it sucks more than not being in a relationship at all. And making that decision usually involves some hurt feelings and tough phone calls, but it’s better than ignoring reality. Making it work is possible, but it requires a lot of sacrifice from both people. My belief is that a long-distance relationship doesn’t stay strong by spending hours on the phone and skype, because putting yourself in a box like that adds stress that goes right back into the relationship that you’re trying to make work. Encourage your significant other to make friends, tell them to go out to a party, make sure they’re happy, because that’s how you can be happy.

        Oh and then convince them to come to Claremont, because everyone knows its better.

  2. why can’t someone feel satisfied with their relationship and be happy not partying and going out every night?no one should deter students from taking a ‘less popular’ path and staying in a relationship and no one should feel like a freak bc they want to spend their time with their significant other

    • I believe what she meant was that if you are consumed by your relationship with your significant other, then you won’t be able to make friends at CMC as easily. And when you are new to school, you really do have to do things like go to social events or at the very least keep your door open in order to make friends. She’s not saying “break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend and go to TNC immediately.” She’s saying make sure your relationship doesn’t inhibit the relationships you make here. And that doesn’t have anything to do with popularity.

      • @”in a relationship”

        Let me pretend I’m not hopelessly romantic, and break out my econ/math major side:

        Statistically 98% of high school sweethearts break up. Therefore, it is a poor investment strategy to spend all your time as a freshman skyping/calling/texting your significant other. It is a much better strategy to diversify, and invest part of your time in your significant other and a large part of your time in meeting other people. With regards to romantic relationship this is especially true as roughly 50% of college students meet their spouse in college! Numbers don’t lie.

        @Kelsey

        Totally on point, as always!

        • Actually, it makes the most sense to keep your significant other because it’s a sunk cost. Only get rid of her when some other chica pulls you off the herd and bitches being bitches, she’ll likely only be interested in you because someone else sorta kind is.

          I believe Posner wrote on this… Looking for it out there…

          Just sayin’.

      • @Kelsey Brown

        You’re exactly right. As someone who was in a long distance relationship freshman year, I can honestly say that it sucks. The decision you have to make is whether or not it sucks more than not being in a relationship at all. And making that decision usually involves some hurt feelings and tough phone calls, but it’s better than ignoring reality. Making it work is possible, but it requires a lot of sacrifice from both people. My belief is that a long-distance relationship doesn’t stay strong by spending hours on the phone and skype, because putting yourself in a box like that adds stress that goes right back into the relationship that you’re trying to make work. Encourage your significant other to make friends, tell them to go out to a party, make sure they’re happy, because that’s how you can be happy.

        Oh and then convince them to come to Claremont, because everyone knows its better.

  3. @”Hmm”

    “Let me pretend I’m not hopelessly romantic” – Me

    Perhaps you missed that?

    • No, didn’t miss it, but I was still responding to your reply, since you took the time of writing it out anyways, pretending or not.

  4. @”Hmm”

    “Let me pretend I’m not hopelessly romantic” – Me

    Perhaps you missed that?

    • No, didn’t miss it, but I was still responding to your reply, since you took the time of writing it out anyways, pretending or not.

  5. I wish I read this (and followed it) freshman year. I, too, am guilty of being consumed in a relationship with my significant other last year. During the time, I thought: “I have him. Why would I need anyone else?” — well, it definitely sucked staying in every night (now that I think about it), webcamming/talking on the phone/making sure my significant other was okay. Little did I know that by the end of my freshman year, all the memories my peers made were a million times better than mine. Not because I didn’t love the memories with my significant other, but because I missed out on most of the events that CMC had to offer. Basically, as both Libby and Kelsey mentioned, with/without a relationship, don’t limit yourself to a few friends or so. Go out and meet new people! It definitely keeps your life balanced with all the school work and all 🙂 If your significant other can’t trust you with that, it’s time to move on.

    • Jessica,

      I agree – if your significant other can’t trust you or doesn’t/won’t understand the need to expand your world, then it’s a sign that something is bad. That’s what can really take a toll on fitting in as a freshman, not simply the fact that one has a long-distance girlfriend/boyfriend.

  6. I wish I read this (and followed it) freshman year. I, too, am guilty of being consumed in a relationship with my significant other last year. During the time, I thought: “I have him. Why would I need anyone else?” — well, it definitely sucked staying in every night (now that I think about it), webcamming/talking on the phone/making sure my significant other was okay. Little did I know that by the end of my freshman year, all the memories my peers made were a million times better than mine. Not because I didn’t love the memories with my significant other, but because I missed out on most of the events that CMC had to offer. Basically, as both Libby and Kelsey mentioned, with/without a relationship, don’t limit yourself to a few friends or so. Go out and meet new people! It definitely keeps your life balanced with all the school work and all 🙂 If your significant other can’t trust you with that, it’s time to move on.

    • Jessica,

      I agree – if your significant other can’t trust you or doesn’t/won’t understand the need to expand your world, then it’s a sign that something is bad. That’s what can really take a toll on fitting in as a freshman, not simply the fact that one has a long-distance girlfriend/boyfriend.

  7. I’m a freshman so I don’t know much about CMC yet, but I have a question to the upperclassmen on this subject. Shouldn’t us freshmen go through the process of learning the hard way whether or not long distance relationships work? One thing I really like about Libby’s article is that it reads anecdotally rather than as an advice column. Over the past six months, I’ve constantly been told that I shouldn’t go to college in a long distance relationship, but if I take the easy way out and listen to everyone’s advice, how would I really understand the importance of entering college single? If the purpose of college is learning, why forgo the opportunity to learn the hard way that 98% of high school relationships going into college fail?

    Based on this post’s comments, it sounds as though a number of people went through the experience of bringing a high school relationship to college and watching it end. While I understand why those people want to help their younger CMC family avoid the hardship associated with long term relationships in college, shouldn’t the freshmen experience it the same way that they did so we can talk from experience rather than hearsay?

    I guess what my questions boil down to is one simple question. Addressed to the people who had long distance relationships that didn’t work: as much as you say you wish you had broken up from the start, given the chance, would you really go back and deprive yourself of such an important learning opportunity?

    • You certainly can learn it the hard way if you want. Just know that those who have been through it already know that it was a waste of time to stay indoors to spend quality time with JUST their significant others. Basically, to answer your question, I would definitely go back and start college off RIGHT. If your significant other trusts you enough to go out and meet new friends, this wouldn’t be problematic. But if you’re spending hours on the phone/webcamming/facebooking/emailing/etc (because they feel that since they’re not making new friends, you shouldn’t either), then you’re missing out on making new friends and memories. You can either go through the same experiences and then share about it to future freshmen, or just live up your college years to the best you can. It’s your choice, your life 🙂

    • Eli,

      I came to CMC as a freshman in a long distance relationship. It wasn’t the distance that ended us, but the additional strain that distance put on an already imperfect relationship. To answer your question, I would say to make your own choice based on what you feel – some people (Dave Meyer) are able to stick it out until you can be in the same place at the same time. Some people are overwhelmed by the distance, in which case they were probably not right for each other in the first place. Some people make it work all four years apart. It’s tough either way.

      Although breaking up was AWFUL, I learned so much from such a committed relationship and have been a better person to be with (I think) since.

      Also, I liked your comment about the nature of the article. I think it’s good advice, warning about some of the trials that a frosh long-distance relationship can bring, but it can be wonderful as well. If you’re in that boat, I wish you the best!

    • I kept my high school girlfriend and she ended up coming out to school with me. That was the beginning of my woes, let me tell you, but all things considered, “bought” learning is better than told learning any day of the week.

      Go off and make your own mistakes, freshmen. Oh, and don’t rely on statistics when deciding matters of the heart. You could be that 2 percent or whatever.

  8. I’m a freshman so I don’t know much about CMC yet, but I have a question to the upperclassmen on this subject. Shouldn’t us freshmen go through the process of learning the hard way whether or not long distance relationships work? One thing I really like about Libby’s article is that it reads anecdotally rather than as an advice column. Over the past six months, I’ve constantly been told that I shouldn’t go to college in a long distance relationship, but if I take the easy way out and listen to everyone’s advice, how would I really understand the importance of entering college single? If the purpose of college is learning, why forgo the opportunity to learn the hard way that 98% of high school relationships going into college fail?

    Based on this post’s comments, it sounds as though a number of people went through the experience of bringing a high school relationship to college and watching it end. While I understand why those people want to help their younger CMC family avoid the hardship associated with long term relationships in college, shouldn’t the freshmen experience it the same way that they did so we can talk from experience rather than hearsay?

    I guess what my questions boil down to is one simple question. Addressed to the people who had long distance relationships that didn’t work: as much as you say you wish you had broken up from the start, given the chance, would you really go back and deprive yourself of such an important learning opportunity?

    • You certainly can learn it the hard way if you want. Just know that those who have been through it already know that it was a waste of time to stay indoors to spend quality time with JUST their significant others. Basically, to answer your question, I would definitely go back and start college off RIGHT. If your significant other trusts you enough to go out and meet new friends, this wouldn’t be problematic. But if you’re spending hours on the phone/webcamming/facebooking/emailing/etc (because they feel that since they’re not making new friends, you shouldn’t either), then you’re missing out on making new friends and memories. You can either go through the same experiences and then share about it to future freshmen, or just live up your college years to the best you can. It’s your choice, your life 🙂

    • Eli,

      I came to CMC as a freshman in a long distance relationship. It wasn’t the distance that ended us, but the additional strain that distance put on an already imperfect relationship. To answer your question, I would say to make your own choice based on what you feel – some people (Dave Meyer) are able to stick it out until you can be in the same place at the same time. Some people are overwhelmed by the distance, in which case they were probably not right for each other in the first place. Some people make it work all four years apart. It’s tough either way.

      Although breaking up was AWFUL, I learned so much from such a committed relationship and have been a better person to be with (I think) since.

      Also, I liked your comment about the nature of the article. I think it’s good advice, warning about some of the trials that a frosh long-distance relationship can bring, but it can be wonderful as well. If you’re in that boat, I wish you the best!

    • I kept my high school girlfriend and she ended up coming out to school with me. That was the beginning of my woes, let me tell you, but all things considered, “bought” learning is better than told learning any day of the week.

      Go off and make your own mistakes, freshmen. Oh, and don’t rely on statistics when deciding matters of the heart. You could be that 2 percent or whatever.

  9. I think the most important thing to keep in mind here is that Libby’s article is encouraging you to stick your feet in the ground and build a life here in Claremont. If you are in a long-distance relationship, and have read this article, and have considered it long enough to post a response, then I think you have already taken the advice she is meaning to give. Just be aware of the easy trap that being in a long-distance relationship creates, and overcome it – whether it be by scheduling a specific time to talk to your significant other a couple times a week, and giving 100% of yourself to Claremont for the rest, or ending things peacefully and giving yourself no limits to who you can be in your new world.

  10. I think the most important thing to keep in mind here is that Libby’s article is encouraging you to stick your feet in the ground and build a life here in Claremont. If you are in a long-distance relationship, and have read this article, and have considered it long enough to post a response, then I think you have already taken the advice she is meaning to give. Just be aware of the easy trap that being in a long-distance relationship creates, and overcome it – whether it be by scheduling a specific time to talk to your significant other a couple times a week, and giving 100% of yourself to Claremont for the rest, or ending things peacefully and giving yourself no limits to who you can be in your new world.

  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNfvuJr9164&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Just a little perspective on actual love.

    But yes, while statistics may be against you, don’t give up on a relationship simply because of distance. If you and your significant other think that you have something great going for you, then more power to you–just find a balance between making friends here and talking to them.

    After all, you’re probably more likely to stick with your significant other and have something great then find something here at CMC, where at a majority of social gatherings people are looking for a quick score. And let’s not mince words, because you know that’s true of our social atmosphere. I’m not judging, since I do party–but you will notice that the number of people who leave Claremont with a significant other are few and far between.

  12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNfvuJr9164&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Just a little perspective on actual love.

    But yes, while statistics may be against you, don’t give up on a relationship simply because of distance. If you and your significant other think that you have something great going for you, then more power to you–just find a balance between making friends here and talking to them.

    After all, you’re probably more likely to stick with your significant other and have something great then find something here at CMC, where at a majority of social gatherings people are looking for a quick score. And let’s not mince words, because you know that’s true of our social atmosphere. I’m not judging, since I do party–but you will notice that the number of people who leave Claremont with a significant other are few and far between.

  13. On one hand, I want to say that long distance relationships are extremely difficult and will likely not last, especially at our age. On the other hand, I would not recommend to freshmen breaking up with their significant others simply because they are attending different colleges. I think being in a long distance relationship has obvious drawbacks, many of which were mentioned by previous posters, but I also think that long distance relationships have benefits that are harder for many to see.

    Consider this: freshmen stay in their relationships, everything works out, and they live happily ever after. Great! On the flip side, let’s say that it doesn’t work. A freshman and his girlfriend break up. He might feel like he wasted his time and energy being in a difficult long distance relationship, only to have it end. True, but I argue that all relationships take time and energy, and nobody can predict the outcome of them anyway.

    Instead of looking at all of the negatives of his experience, he could look at the positives. Being in a long distance relationship will (hopefully) make him appreciate his next girlfriend more. He might not take his relationships for granted – like many do – because he understands how much work it takes to keep one functioning. From his failed long distance relationship, he could potentially learn to be a better boyfriend – a better communicator, more mature, etc. I think it all depends on what you take from the experience.

  14. On one hand, I want to say that long distance relationships are extremely difficult and will likely not last, especially at our age. On the other hand, I would not recommend to freshmen breaking up with their significant others simply because they are attending different colleges. I think being in a long distance relationship has obvious drawbacks, many of which were mentioned by previous posters, but I also think that long distance relationships have benefits that are harder for many to see.

    Consider this: freshmen stay in their relationships, everything works out, and they live happily ever after. Great! On the flip side, let’s say that it doesn’t work. A freshman and his girlfriend break up. He might feel like he wasted his time and energy being in a difficult long distance relationship, only to have it end. True, but I argue that all relationships take time and energy, and nobody can predict the outcome of them anyway.

    Instead of looking at all of the negatives of his experience, he could look at the positives. Being in a long distance relationship will (hopefully) make him appreciate his next girlfriend more. He might not take his relationships for granted – like many do – because he understands how much work it takes to keep one functioning. From his failed long distance relationship, he could potentially learn to be a better boyfriend – a better communicator, more mature, etc. I think it all depends on what you take from the experience.

  15. I’m entering my junior year now and the old lady and I are still kicking. I’ll admit we’re a bit of an anomaly, but it’s not impossible. Good article Libby! I think that if you want to make it work, you have to allow yourselves to develop as individuals. Appreciate the time that you have together, but when you’re apart, let yourself live. Convince each other to go out and meet people, not stay in. If you can’t do that, well my fingers are crossed for you.

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