It’s 5:50 am on Sunday morning, a time of the week when most folks sleep in. Lyn stealthily makes her way back to her hostel, afraid of bumping into somebody she knows. She is not alone; dozens of other fellow college girls or in some cases boys are making their way back to their respective rooms early in the morning to avoid the “you are guilty” eyes that would be thrown their way by their colleagues who are faithfully heading to church. The ‘Walk of Shame’ makes a 5 minute stretch seem like an unending maze. The victim scurries down the paths uncomfortably and can only find peace once they’ve locked themselves in their respective room. One is thus left wondering why a person would feel this way yet they have all the freedom concerning their sexuality. Is the stigma associated with pre-marital sex or the fact that one is afraid of being judged by their friends?
Matters of sexuality and relationships are complex issues, more so in campus. Sexual activity is heightened due to the fact that for once in a young person’s life, they are far from the patronizing care of their overly protective parents. They are answerable to none but themselves. Thus, the things that seemed out of reached before now dangled before their very sight. It is therefore no wonder that these young people plunge head first into destructive lifestyles. They begin experimenting with all the ‘illicit’ things trying to prove their parents wrong. Rebellion often makes a person feel more powerful. Girls who had a five o’clock curfew now stay out past midnight; boys who had never tasted alcohol before now drink themselves silly.
The bird trapped in a cage had been released: the smell of freedom. Dating is not left out and relationships blossom among the young campus lads and lasses. They seize every opportunity to be with each other, whispering, caressing and groping each other along the dark alleys at night. Soon, the shy stolen kisses graduate into bolder one minute ones. Soon, the shy couples begin spending nights together. Like a mini married couple of some sorts, they buy vegetables and cook their meals together. Social networks bear the brunt of informing the whole world about the love-life of the two as they quickly update their marital status to “engaged” and post dozens of pictures of themselves cuddling for the world to see. One would think that fairytales were indeed true.
Sadly, like desert flowers, these relationships often end as soon as they begun. The beauty and magic disappears into thin air and the two are no longer on speaking terms because of a small matter. Fights are as common as bar brawls in the hostels as disgruntled parties in the relationship hurl insults at the other in the name of airing their grievances. The couple that one would’ve mistakenly thought to be a match made in heaven soon breaks up. Worse off are the love-birds that were in the same class as they can no longer stand each other, let alone utter a single word. The boy is bitter about all the money he used in the course of the relationship, all the time spent courting and winning her over, the nights out in the cold: the girl regrets ever entering into the relationship in the first place, feeling as if her body was used, the guilt. They both blame themselves, but as they say, love is both stupid and blind.
Campus relationships are tricky, but they are among the happiest relationships ever. For those lucky enough to graduate without breaking it off, a happy marriage is the ultimate reward