Sex and the University: Landslide

Written By: Charlotte Dean

We find ourselves adjusting to new routines with the constant changing of seasons.  After spending four months in the Italian Dolomites I’ve had to adjust to lower ground, and life in Glasgow doesn’t share the same peaks my Italian stay had to offer. Once in Italy it was not difficult to forget about Glasgow – its dark grey cloud and lack of adventure a distant memory when working in the Dolomites. People would appear to think that when you travel away from home for long periods of time that your patterns won’t follow and that you can de-root yourself entirely from the past. Is this the case, though?

No – that wouldn’t be a realistic thought. But then, do seasons abroad hold any sort of realism? You live and work with the same people constantly, and you end up being more like brother and sister rather than friends. Would you end up having the same sort of relationships with these people if you weren’t sharing chalets or even beds?

Working abroad for the summer creates an intense world that doesn’t match the reality waiting at home, but previous difficulties in your life still follow you. You might say that you’ve learnt from previous experiences, but that doesn’t mean that it will stop you from falling down the hole once again. Or, you end up re-creating a scenario that has happened to you before, but this time with someone else. You can be seeing two different people for different reasons and leave one for another on the basis that you feel more chemistry with the second.

The question is, though, do you only know your compatibility with someone once you’ve both shared your additional baggage – and by this I don’t mean rucksacks. Within season work you think you can escape your past flames and experiences with some fresh soil and spectacular peaks, but it doesn’t stop your mind tracing your previous steps and troughs. Trying to ignore your past only leads to it coming down like a landslide when you least expect.

Some people are more difficult to read, and this summer I spent more time interpreting characteristics than learning Italian. I gave in too quickly on more than one occasion, but according to my friend – to whom we shall give the pseudonym witch (although she’s far from it) – in your first season it’s hard not to be filled with a few head spins. Everything is intense and you feel friendships growing stronger after spending only a few hours in the sun with someone. But then again, maybe that’s the mountains working their magic, making it hard to not act upon any new feelings you have for someone.

Looking back on my experiences I constantly alter my timing of my actions, what I should have done, should we have waited… but, I guess the knack of waiting out the game will only come with time, and it does always take two to tango.

Maybe I projected a strong person who’s independent and never lets anyone influence her decisions. And sometimes I am, but when your past behaviours crawl into your present, it can make you feel like you haven’t progressed at all. I can easily re-play every time a guy has told me he doesn’t want anything serious and I’ve just acted as if that’s the most normal request in the world. People would say that I only have myself to blame if I end up getting hurt, but I do wonder why everyone seems to fear commitment with someone, despite committing to a four-month job in a new place or spending a year abroad, several miles from home. We’re happy to commit ourselves to places but not people – perhaps out of the fear that someone can take our independent streak away from us. Or perhaps it really is just because he (or she) is just not that into you.  

Although honesty and communication are the most important things to have with someone, when is the right time to say anything serious when you’re with someone who already has their eyes on the expiry date? We’re all getting older, and a guy from my past now has a child, so I will definitely admit that I want something more serious than a date to Nando’s. We shouldn’t have to apologise for what we want just because it doesn’t suit the person we adore. Maybe we shouldn’t be with them either, if you know your outlook doesn’t match.

At university you can meet people several times and still have the same mediocre conversations, so finding someone who you can end up chatting to for hours at a party is a real rarity. I guess that’s why finding someone you want to be with is a special moment, especially if you know they’re not falling for all the wrong reasons or parts of you.

The summer is to learn not only more about yourself and what you want to do with your time, but to learn more about others. You learn what personalities you need in your life, and who will respect you for your own individuality and not fitting their type of ‘perfect.’ You don’t need to give yourself away in order to get love in return either, sometimes withholding all of yourself is when you meet people who truly adore every part of you. Sometimes you won’t recognise these people early on and you’ll wish you invested more time with them – but it’s something new to remember for the next season.

We should all be open to taking chances and making changes in our lives, and it shouldn’t just be the changing of the seasons that allow this to happen.

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