Taking college break-ups seriously

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Abigail: it hasn’t gotten easier, I don’t think it ever will.  Photo credit: Chelsea Hernandez

“Experiencing heartbreak while under the pressures of college life can be overwhelming and detrimental to your mental health”, says Kalie Elizabeth Ray. She is sophomore at Pickens Technical College in Aurora, Colorado. She has had her fair share of heartbreak in the last few years and explains that break-ups in college are much more serious than most people think.

Everyone experiences break-ups differently. Some move on fairly quickly. A night out with friends or a new fling is enough to help them get over their heartache. For others, such as Ray, heartbreak can be much more serious and long-lasting. For many young students, it takes more than a tub of ice-cream and a shoulder to cry on to move on after breaking up with a partner. “I was so depressed, I had to seek out professional help.” Says Ray.

Students either come into college already in a relationship from their high school days, or they get into a relationship in college. “I think it’s much harder to get over a relationship that you’ve been in since high school,” says junior “Abigail” at the University of Denver; she wishes to remain anonymous.

It can be difficult trying to seek help when a break-up leads to depression and in many cases, suicidal thoughts. Many people feel like others don’t take them seriously and the only words they can offer is, “you’ll be fine, just move on.” People who have had their heart broken claim that those who have not faced heartbreak don’t understand that it’s not always that easy. It can be embarrassing admitting to people, even counselors, that the reason you are so upset is because of a break-up. “I’m afraid they’re going to judge me and think that I’m being immature,” says Abigail.

Many of those who break-up with their significant other during college probably thought they would get married someday. “I never saw the ending coming. We had made plans to move in together in the next couple of years,” said Kalie Ray, “when he broke up with me, I felt like a piece of me was missing and I could no longer properly function.”

In college, students face the pressure from exams and other assignments. Kalie Ray claims things can get much worse when they lose someone very close to them, especially when they have been dating for a while. Many students talk about how it’s difficult to ask for extensions on assignments because they fear that experiencing a break-up is not a good enough reason for their professor. Back in Mar. of 2017, a 19-year old Ohio State University student went viral on the internet after she posted the email she wrote to her professor regarding why she submitted her assignment late. Her excuse was that her boyfriend had broken up with her.

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“It was our tradition to watch the sunrise from our high school soccer field at least once a year,” says Mark Martinez.       Photo credit: Chelsea Hernandez

Although the internet thought it was funny that this student sent out this email, to some it was an act of bravery. “When my girlfriend broke up with me, I really couldn’t function properly. I had my calculus final in a couple of days and I couldn’t concentrate,” said 20 year old Mark Martinez, a junior at Colorado State University. “I wanted to ask my professor if I could take the exam later on in the week but I knew she would say no.”

Many students say that professors are typically more willing to empathize with students and offer extensions when they are ill or have a family emergency. Students like Martinez believe that professors wouldn’t feel compelled to give students extensions or waive off assignments if the reasoning behind their poor performance is a bad break-up. Sociology Professor Lisa Paso at the University of Denver weighed in on this topic. “I think that if it was a student who has asked me for extensions before, I would say no,” she said when asked if she would grant an extension on assignments if a student had a bad breakup, “but if it was a student who usually turned their work in on time, I would probably give them the extension.”

Contrary to what many people believe, a bad break-up can lead to numerous health issues, especially among students according to the Huffington Post.  A study among the American Press Association also discovered that nearly 30 percent of college students who seek help for mental health issues have considered suicide. Mental health is not the only thing at risk too. Loss of appetite or gaining weight can be a result of heart break. “I remember I didn’t eat for days. There was a point where my stomach wasn’t hurting anymore, it was like my body completely shut down,” says Mark Martinez. “I was having trouble sleeping at night because I was constantly thinking.”

Daily Mail says, “Love is a drug, and it turns out people do suffer withdrawal symptoms from their partner after splitting up, similar to the cravings drug addicts experience for cocaine.”

Many students report going through a rough break up while in college. However, many of them don’t feel comfortable talking about it. Society has invalidated young relationships because many don’t believe that it was ever “true love.” Whether they were in love or not, there is no denying that students have had negative experiences with trying to cope with their heartbreak because many of their peers and adults have not taken their emotions seriously.

One Response to Taking college break-ups seriously

  • Angel Gonzalez says:

    Hey Chelsea I really liked the angle of this piece. You easily could have exemplified the heart ache and turned it into a tela novela. Instead, I liked how you highlighted break ups as a natural occurring part of life – although not always pleasant. The discussion between break ups and mental instability/hindered really needs to be talked about more and I’m sure you could find more information to expand upon this.

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