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Looking for love at university isn’t something you necessarily want to happen, but the chances are – unless you’re incredibly lucky – love will come and bite you whether you want it to or not.

It’s not hard to see why people fall in love so easily here, because there’s just so many people to fall in love with; you have an abundance of people your own age with mutual interests, and when you aren’t fighting the windswept hair (and general malnutrition), you also look hot! University is super for finding love because in many ways you lose your inhibitions here, if you do it right. You get to try new things, you make new friends, you don’t have to be shy or wait for Mr/Mrs Right to ask you out, you can take control of your own destiny in love just as you get to wash your own laundry and cook your own meals.

You can always blame the spirit of the night if things don’t go to plan

Nights out are a prime time to develop feelings and let your feelings be expressed. If you know someone in a formal, or professional environment, how are you ever supposed to find the right circumstance to do, what I like to call “the scratch and sniff”: a little tester of whether you like the feel of one person or another. You can always blame the spirit of the night if things don’t go to plan, and you’re likely to be forced into seeing each other again, which will kill any major awkward vibes.

Who doesn’t love a cheeky kiss that probably shouldn’t have happened but will now be the complete talk of the town/friendship group for ages? I value those times when I’ve sat in halls, gossiping like a teenager about some guy/girl that was “sending me signals”, and that electricity of the chase is second to none and one of the biggest highs uni-life has to offer.

one night stands can be fun and rewarding whilst teaching you to embrace your sexual desires and not feel ashamed of them

I also discovered a lot about my sexuality at university. In this totally free environment I was able to explore my bisexuality in a way I just wouldn’t have been free to at home. One night stands, which are the fibre of much of uni life, would be a total no go at home, yet they can be fun and rewarding whilst teaching you to embrace your sexual desires and not feel ashamed of them. But there’s a darker side to finding love at university.

Uni should really be about loving yourself and the friends you make. I think sharing experiences with someone else is great (especially when there’s so many great date locations in Exeter), but everyone needs to be single sometimes. We have to learn how to spend evenings alone, how to work in solitude, and to accept that being alone doesn’t mean feeling lonely. More practically, if you fall in love and it doesn’t work out, you get your feelings hurt and you’re stuck in this environment where you can’t escape those feelings or cry it out to your mum; you just have to keep bumping into them and every street in Exeter reminds you of the mems. Whereas if you stick to your friends and focus on loving yourself, you can’t be disappointed and you can commit to accumulating only heartbreak-free moments.

Also, what happens if you end up being that couple. The couple everyone secretly wishes would go away as they are always together. As much as I believe in true love, I also believe in the sesh, and the sesh is affected by lovey couples. It’s jealously, some might cry, but I just genuinely think some couples can isolate themselves from a group and indulge in each other, and you’re left just feeling a bit ‘meh’ in their company.

Another epidemic is falling in love with these two dangerous things: flatmates and friends. The double f is about the worst thing that could happen here. If you fall for your friend or housemate there’s nothing you can do about it and it could work out (with a heap of drama), but if it doesn’t the fallout from that can truly rock the foundations of friendship that have been built.

The double f is about the worst thing that could happen here

University is really a lesson in life, and without my personal tragedies and comedies in love, I would be leaving uni with a lesser educated heart than before and these experiences can only be learning curves. Altogether then, there’s more than one heart-racing challenge in Exeter: cardiac hill and the navigation of being a student in love. Whether you choose to hunt out love and embrace your sexual desires, or dedicate yourself to self-love, love is all around.

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