Romance According to Patrick

Patrick Ehlers

(Brent Schwert)

Dear Patrick,
I think I may have a crush on one of my freshman residents. I don’t know if I want to just hang out with him or make out with him. Can you help me out?
-Really Needs Love AdviceI’m guessing from the bolded letters that you are, in fact, an RLA. This is a story as old as time, and any current or former RLA can sympathize with you. It’s hard because you end up spending so much time with these people, and it doesn’t take long to develop actual friendships and real feelings.
I was an RLA for three years in a row, and I have to admit that it’s a challenge every year. But let me try to convince you to play the waiting game. I know, I know, the waiting game sucks. Let’s just walk through it a second and make some morality-type decisions together. Shall we? Okay good.
We start as early as possible-move-in day. You can’t do anything move-in day; their parents are here, you’re exhausted from staying up until four making door decs. It’s not the right time.
Welcome Week-not a good call either. You can’t be horning in on the new-friend time, that’s not right. Welcome Week is a time when the freshmen form absurdly strong bonds with one another, and no one should be robbed of this experience.
First term before reading period-no good. Before the first reading period rolls around, freshmen haven’t yet experienced the wrath of which this institution is capable. Start dating before reading period, and they won’t know what to do with not seeing you regularly because of the increased class work.
Before winter break-awful idea, maybe the worst time ever. Freshmen go home and fall right back into their high school worlds for three weeks in December. You’re old enough to know better at this point, but freshmen can easily slip back in with high school games, high school friends, high school girlfriends and forget about you entirely.
Winter term-no. Winter term sucks. You’re going to need all of your positive energy to get through the grayest months you’ll ever experience in your life. People get strange during this time, and even the Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps we have in all the Res Hall lounges can’t bring them back.
Spring term-as dangerous as the end of first term is, third term is even equally dangerous. The quickly approaching summer resets everything. Being an RLA, you must be aware of the sophomore year world-flipping. Pay attention to this part freshmen-everything will change your sophomore year; you move, your friends move, you fill leadership positions and classes get harder.
That leads us through the whole first year. Let the freshmen date the freshmen (don’t worry, they are). You find a nice junior or something.

Got a question? E-mail Patrick at
I seem to have offended Kate by berating the title I inherited from her. Kate, this is my newspaper apology. Now that all that’s over with, please keep sending in suggestions for a less boring title.