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heart beating of a campus crush [lifestyle]

giving in to the feeling

As you sit tucked in the hidden nooks around campus, nestled on a bench with a hot chai latte in hand, you can’t help but look up from your work and take in all of the unfamiliar faces—the crowds of students walking to their morning class or racing to the Blue Room.

But are you really people-watching, or just looking for that one person? Everyone has that one beautiful being in mind who they’re willing to walk the extra mile for (in the opposite direction of class) just to catch one more glimpse. Just the split-second interaction between you sends chills down your spine and suddenly it seems that the sun is shining brighter, the warm wind feels good brushing your face, and the ache in your heart has dissipated. These are just some of the symptoms of having a dangerous, heart-palpitating campus crush. 

The alluring nature of a campus crush makes that person you’re pining for ever the more special. A campus crush can best be summarized with the three i’s: infeasibility, imagination, and i-am-just-bored-and-want–something-to-fixate-on. These points seek to answer the inevitable question: What makes a campus crush different from a regular crush? 



Infeasibility. The more you can’t have something, the more you want it. This law seems to dictate everything that we deem desirable. Even friends and siblings argue over clothes or picking which meals to eat; what someone else has always looks better. When another person, not even necessarily a close acquaintance, is in a relationship, you suddenly feel as if you too need to be, in that instant, in a committed relationship. 

Usually, a campus crush is someone that is unattainable. It’s not that this person is any better than you. It’s simply that in this universe, your lives were not meant to intersect romantically, but just to graze lightly. Because of this, this person instantaneously becomes more attractive, and any interaction you have inflates in your mind. Soon, it seems that the overwhelming sense that you and your campus crush won’t end up together disappears. The only thing left is the notion that a glimpse of them will no longer suffice. You feel, overwhelmingly, like you have to act on these small moments of interaction, hoping that this will bloom into something serious—even an eventual relationship.

However, one reason why this person is unattainable is blatantly clear: You run on completely different schedules. They’re a morning person who goes to the Nelson right when it opens, you’re a night owl haunting the halls of the Sci-Li. They’re concentrating in Literary Arts while you’re hunkered down in the engineering building all day. They enjoy the plethora of options presented at the Ratty, while you swear to never stomach the Ratty more than once a week—if ever. The stars, in any case, do not align, and that only fires you up more: The heart wants what it can’t have. The unattainability of the person draws you in even more. You play a wicked, toxic game with yourself, growing stronger in your conviction that you are meant for each other until you’ve become enraptured with the idea of being star-crossed lovers. 


Imagination. Everyone has fallen victim to late nights, staying up so far past midnight that you can’t distinguish between what is real and what you’ve conjured up from the depths of your imagination. Soon enough, every brush of a finger, every smile that they give you sends signals that you shouldn’t ignore and instead, should just act on. 

The brush of a finger feels like a gentle caress on the small of your back, but in actuality, is just a scene from one of your English class readings that you’re projecting. A hug suddenly feels like your souls are being gently pressed together, and when you embrace, it feels as if all will be right in this world. But, of course, this is just your imagination. They offer you what seems like a tender smile, the type that stretches just a little wider and bigger than for everyone else.You watch that small dimple on the side of their cheek form and wonder what it would be like to lightly touch it. Then you realize that they were smiling at the person behind you.


I’m-Bored. The greatest unspoken truth about campus crushes is often forgotten, misplaced behind the mess of infatuation. It’s that they’re often the result of an abundance of time or, better yet, a lack of it. Behind the busyness of classes, rushing to finish assignments, oftentimes, there is not a light at the end of the tunnel. From the dreary weather to the same routine of meals, there is nothing to fixate on.


Luckily, your campus crush will always come to the rescue, appearing out of nowhere (as if you hadn’t gone out of your way to see them). Catching a glimpse of them pushes you to get up and go to class, continue on with your day, and pull yourself out of your misery. After all, there is nothing like their sweet, euphoric smile to lift you out of your mundane schedule. There’s nothing like a classic fixation to pull you from the trenches.

To be clear, sometimes it’s not necessarily that you like them exceptionally or find them exceedingly attractive: They’re simply there to distract, making everything else that might be going wrong fall away. 

One of the most important distinctions between a campus crush and a regular one is that a campus crush is absolutely one-sided and unrequited. That’s the beauty and pain of having one: There will never be any strings attached to liking someone so much. But at that point, do you even really like them? Or just the idea of them? Do you know anything about them beyond their physical appearance or the way they walk? Do you know what books they like to read or what they enjoy doing in their spare time? 

The harsh reality of it all is that a campus crush is just a fixation, a stand-in for what you truly desire and hope for. It stems from something deep inside of you and not your affection for them. They become idolized in a way that can become unhealthy, compensating for other missing pieces in your life. 

Yet, most of the time, with a conscious hold on the control of a campus crush, the effects are harmless and offer just a sprinkle of excitement into our lives. More positively, they can also offer a light in times of uncertainty or loss. They are a stepping stone to the person you really are compatible with, teaching you ways to love and what true love can feel like. You deserve the most special kind of love—the kind that feels like swarms of beautiful blue butterflies hugging you, warm and fuzzy from head-to-toe, a constant smile on your face even with a thought of them. Most importantly, it’s requited—someone who admires all of the special qualities you encapsulate that you also see in them.

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