Dating. It’s hard. Some people are lucky and meet the love of their life in high school. Others in college. I even have a few friends who met their significant others the first year out of college. But for people like me, which seems like a majority of my LA friends, that leaves years of extremely frustrating dating. But no matter how frustrating it becomes, we persevere in hopes of finding “The One.”
Years of unsuccessful dating can be viewed in one of two ways.
A string of bad dates will leave anyone depressed and hopeless. You start to doubt yourself and the qualities you bring to a relationship. You second guess your decision making process. You lament why you always pick the wrong type of person even when you know you shouldn’t be with someone like that. Yes, dating can be depressing and it will continue to be depressing if you think of your lack of success as that…unsuccessful. But a simple adjustment to your perspective can flip depression into optimism.
View all your previous dating experience as a scientific experiment. Just like a chemist’s lab, you are tinkering, just trying to find the right formula for romantic chemistry. As Thomas Edison would say, “I have not failed, not once. I’ve discovered ten thousand ways that don’t work.” Don’t view your dating “failures” as a bad thing, but rather as part of the process of filtering out the people wrong for you.
As someone who has been dating for over a decade, I typically fall into the experimental camp. While I might occasionally get depressed from dating (it’s only natural), for the most part, I truly believe that I’m developing a better sense of what type of person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Which brings me to the idea of dating and education. Does a date’s education level affect dating decisions and should it matter?
Should Education Matter?
Education is one of the most universal schemas that people use to form early opinions about someone (where you grew up and current profession are two others). While I currently am trying NOT to ask these questions right off the bat, it’s only natural that they will eventually come up on a date. Whether it’s right or wrong, my date’s educational background will affect my perception of them as a romantic partner.
So What Does It Mean, You Judgmental Prick?
I’ll admit, I make quick (and temporary) judgement based on someone’s higher education. Where you went to school can be as much of an indicator as if you went to college at all. BUT, that’s not why your education is important to me. To me, education is usually a good indicator for common interests and experiences. Yes, it’s a blanket opinion that doesn’t factor in outliers, but it’s what my dating experience has lead me to believe.
When I have dated women who have at least a four year degree, I find that we have more to talk about. Our life experiences are parallel and we can relate to each other’s experiences. I’ve found that it’s much easier to riff off each other this way, leading to deeper, more interesting conversations. Contrast that with women I’ve dated who don’t have college educations, and I find that our conversations are much more A to B. In my head, I’m brainstorming new topics to discuss, because I can tell the current topic isn’t going to naturally lead into another conversation thread. This is the driving force behind my education dating criteria.
“I Don’t Have a Degree, Do You Think I’m Stupid?”
I think that the reason why people without degrees are really sensitive about this subject, is that they assume people cast them off into the stupid pile. This stereotype, sadly, isn’t entirely untrue. If you graduated from Harvard vs. Santa Monica Community College, it’s difficult not to jump to conclusions on intellect. I’ve already admitted that I will make a quick judgement. But just knowing if and where someone went to college isn’t enough to make a proper opinion about someone.
One question that I’ve begun to ask people as a follow up to the education conversation is, “Why did you choose X?” I’ve found that this question is probably more telling about a person than simply where they went to school.
Everyone Has a Story, Know the Context
Understanding why people chose to go to college (or not to go) and why they went to a particular school is really fascinating. I just had a conversation with a girl who got into every college she applied to, but the one she really wanted to go to (Harvard). So instead of shelling out a small fortune to attend Cornell and say she’s an Ivy Leaguer, she stayed close to home and went to Berkley. Then there was the girl who went to a small private college to appease her parents but totally regrets it. She would have much preferred to attend a larger public university, even if less prestigious, for a more well-rounded experience.
Learning the meaning behind someone’s college decision is an important data point to know. Knowing what other schools someone applied to or why they chose not to go to college are interesting facts (in my opinion) about someone. Dating is all about peeling back the layers of someone. If they went to school and where they went is just a starting point. But it’s still an easy way to filter out a majority of people who you know you won’t be compatible with.
I know this is a really unpopular stance and paints me as narrow-minded shit head. I have friends who never went to college and others who went to “shitty” schools. I really don’t think less of them and I know they’re good people who are smart. That being said, I still find more common ground with people who went to college, which is why I use education as a dating criteria. Being someone’s friend and being someone’s lifelong partner that you spend all your time with is a huge difference. I really do welcome open conversation on the subject in the comments.
In my next post, I’m going turn the table and take a look at my educational experiences. I’ll examine how these experiences have molded me into the person I am today and how they still affect my dating decisions years later.