Story by Larissa Wurm
Photo courtesy of Hannah Pink
Dating is never an easy thing. Long distance relationships are even more difficult. But some students on campus have found a way to make their relationships work, and not just for a couple years. These students have been dating their significant others since high school, and met them even before that.
One student, Hannah Pink, a senior graphic design major, and her boyfriend, Matt, both from Peoria, Ill. met in eighth grade.
“He asked me out, like most middle school boys will, through AIM (AOL Instant Messaging),” Pink said. “I responded with ‘Sure, but only if you promise to still be my friend after we break up in two weeks.’”
They have been dating steadily ever since.
“Our big curveball came when we both were leaving for our respective colleges my freshman year,” Pink said. “He attends the University of Iowa, so he’s not too far away, but we still have a really hard time with our busy schedules getting to see each other.
“He’ll usually come up for my sorority’s date parties or formals, so it’s awesome to see him having fun with all of my friends,” Pink said.
“It’s so weird to think we both grew up in Peoria, and now we’re both in Iowa!” Pink added.
Another couple, Nathaniel Allison, a junior computer science and philosophy major, and Alyson Collins, a junior elementary education major, both also from Illinois, have known each other since eighth grade as well. He asked her out early in their friendship, but she turned him down. During their senior year, Allison asked Collins once more, this time a success. They have been dating ever since.
“Nate and I met through mutual friends in eighth grade and became really good friends,” Collins said. “But I denied him. We talked sparingly throughout high school until we had a class together senior year. We then began to talk more and more. When we finally got to hanging out, Nate asked me out again. This time, I decided to give it a chance.”
After high school, Allison went to Loyola University of Chicago while Collins came to Drake
“Long distance relationships are really hard,” Collins said. “But we made it work.”
After his first year at Loyola, Allison decided he wasn’t happy with Loyola and transferred to Drake, where he’s ever since.
Many say there are a lot of different ways to keep a long distance relationship going whether it’s via Skyping, texting, calling or visiting each other as often as possible.
Pink’s advice for long-distance couples is communication.
“It’s the only means of ‘being-together’ you have when you’re not visiting each other. Call each other when you’re walking home from class, or send them a goodnight text — anything counts.” Pink said.
“If you were to get in an argument, talking face-to-face is the very best option,” she said. “You get to see that person and all of their raw emotion, rather than having them hidden behind text messages and phone calls. Trust me, it helps.
“Knowing what you are, are you ‘in an open relationship,’ or completely together, because if that isn’t known when you get to your different schools or distances, big miscommunications could happen and it could take a turn down a wrong path.”
Both couples have made it a long time in their relationships. A majority of high school couples have difficulties remaining together with the changes that usually accompany the college experience — but both are confident in their futures together.
“While we aren’t exactly sure what our future holds,” Collins said. “We will face whatever comes our way together.”
“We will be apart for another year or so,” Pink said. “But we’ve done it so far, so I’m confident we can keep it up.”