Let’s talk relationships. After all, at Fontbonne, I feel like relationships are a big thing. It’s not that everyone is or isn’t in a relationship – it’s just that we’re a tight-knit school because we’re so small, and so people WILL know about your relationships. People will have their opinions about your relationships; this should not stop you from doing what you want, of course, but from my perspective it’s interesting to see how people talk about these things. So excuse me while I throw a few thoughts out here.
Starting a relationship at Fontbonne. In sum: good luck. I wish you all the best. Starting a relationship at Fontbonne isn’t difficult – I’ve watched it happen every year, especially within the freshmen class. And who can be surprised? You’re meeting new and interesting people who happen to go to the same school as you, so they’re in close proximity. If the right chemistry is there, it’s only a matter of time. The reason I say “good luck” is that if your relationship fails, you cannot escape that person. I’ve seen people basically drop out for this reason. (There’s always more reasons than just that, but that doesn’t make as good a story.) Getting intimate with someone and then having it turn sour is trouble waiting to happen, especially when one of your friends starts dating your ex. Dramatic much?
Sexual orientation at Fontbonne. As a sociology student with a heavy amount of interest in queer theory, I’m always interested to see how queerness (a convenient term that includes gays, lesbians, bis, pansexuals, asexuals, intersexed, transgendered, and every other non-heteronormative distinction you can think of) plays out at Fontbonne. My thought is that Fontbonne has two sides: one, a conservative Catholic identity; two, a liberal [arts], sexually-expressive identity. Sure we’re founded by nuns, but that does not affect how we think about sexuality. I love my queer friends. I love seeing how the ‘rules’ of sexuality and gender can be pushed and bent. The thing is, that two-sided nature of Fontbonne leads to, in my opinion, some people being afraid to be themselves. This, of course, perpetuates a cycle of fear. Fontbonne, I think, is more accepting than people will give it credit for a lot of the time. Again, we’re close-knit. We like you for you. So be yourself, and never be ashamed of that. And for God’s sake don’t make it a bigger deal than it is.
Long-distance relationships. This is just my spiel, really, because I can’t speak for too many people since I’ve only met one or two others at Fontbonne who have this. I’m sure there’s more of you, but… maybe not? I’m in a long-distance relationship. My girlfriend, my best friend from high school, is a Pharmacy student at the University at Buffalo. Being 800 miles away is difficult, but definitely not impossible. We visit each other when we can – she’s flying in next week, in fact – and we use Skype, and text and call each other daily. Staying faithful isn’t very difficult if it’s someone you care about. I will point out, of course, that when my relationship gets dramatic, people find out about it. Even the removed relationships can make waves in the Fontbonne pool.
Moral of the story: love freely, explore your sexuality, and open your mind to the possibilities. The pursuit of happiness should not be limited by what your friends think. And finally, in the words of one of my favorite authors and advertisers of all time, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”