Sage & Blunt Advice: Fretting Fourth Year

Sage & Blunt

Dear Sage & Blunt,


I really like someone on campus, but they’ve expressed to me that they’re seeing someone else. I’m trying to do my best to keep my distance and respect their autonomy, but I feel like I’m running out of time (I’m a fourth year). It’s sometimes difficult to try to determine if someone I like is queer and whether or not they would have an interest in me. I’m not a party person, I stick with my main friend group and I don’t spend a lot of time with people in or outside my major. Like last week’s submission, I have friends who are hit on when I never have been, and I am not thin or fit, which unfortunately are points against me. What should I do?


Fretting Fourth Year


Dear Fretting Fourth Year,

I’m happy that you got to experience the giddy human pleasure of really liking someone, and I’m bummed that it didn’t work out this time. It sounds like you’re being quite gracious about the whole thing. 

I know it can feel like you’re running out of time. It can feel like everyone around us is boinking or, God forbid, falling in love, and those experiences will help others change and grow while you are missing out. But, the truth is that dating only gets better after college (you heard it here first!), and you have so much time. You might even be a completely different version of yourself by the time you start dating exciting people — let that possibility liberate you rather than scare you.

As a fourth year, the only thing you’re really running out of time for is simply spending time in Grinnell with your favorite people. You have one more semester! You should be listening extra closely to the way the snow sounds crunching under your boots on the way to the library, figuring out if there are any D-Hall desserts you’ve never tried, soaking everything up and paying your respects. Dare I say you might even try one last college party or get to know someone in your major cohort, just to see how it goes or to say you did.

I am also, unfortunately, going to advise you (with managed expectations) to get on the apps — either here or after you leave. There, you will not need to wonder who is queer and it will be explicitly clear who is interested in you and who is not. Even if you don’t meet up with anyone, at the very least the apps will assure you that there are people who will be interested in you. No matter how not thin or fit you may be, there are people who will be interested in you (because, after all, being thin and/or fit are two of the least interesting possible qualities a person can have). 

No matter how not thin or fit you may be, there are people who will be interested in you (because, after all, being thin and/or fit are two of the least interesting possible qualities a person can have). ”

The apps are good for so many other things, too. They help you practice putting yourself out there from a safe-ish distance. Use them to practice flirting and as an excuse to make other people look at hot pictures of you. How might it feel to present yourself to others in this way without waiting for them to come to you? 

In sum, there are many things you will not get to do again after commencement, but having crushes is not one of them. All seasons of life have some kind of expiration date and each deserves to be treated with reverence. For you, this simply may not be a season of love, but it is a season of a hundred other great things, so focus on those. The lovers will come and go, as will schools, workplaces, living situations, passions and sorrows. There will come times when you miss your single life, believe it or not. I encourage you to make the best of it now so that the reminiscing can be sweeter, and to use the rest of your time here thoughtfully, intentionally and joyously.


Sage & Blunt