On relationships and hookup culture at Hopkins


Traditional relationships are no longer the norm on college campuses nationally, and the same holds true at Hopkins. Formal, established relationships are rare on campus, and the few that do exist are often long-term, started in high school or freshman year. The more common form of relationship is the so-called “thing,” a casual yet exclusive relationship without formal labels or recognition. “Things” seem to be the preferred mode of operation for the romantic pursuits of our generation.

This preference and distinction can probably be attributed to the size and social scene of our campus. Hopkins is a small school made even smaller with an extremely insular social scene; students generally socialize with the same group of people throughout their time here. This may be caused in part by the structure of Charles Village — we lack a unified Fraternity Row, most fraternity houses are small row houses, and sororities do not house together. This disperses students and their social circles around Charles Village and decreases the likelihood for interaction with new people. The same can be said for our lack of a true bar scene, which would facilitate students to cross paths with people they wouldn’t have met otherwise.

This structure is vastly different from that of larger, more stereotypically social schools, where students are constantly meeting new people on Fraternity Row and in bars around campus.

Most people say that our generation has replaced the standard dating culture with hookup culture. This proves accurate on campuses across the nation to various degrees, and at Hopkins to a lesser one. Due to both our smaller size and our insular social scene, it is not as plausible to engage in a true hookup culture as it is at larger schools. Larger schools have stronger hookup cultures simply because their students are exposed to higher numbers of people, both new and familiar, than we are at Hopkins. Social groups at these schools mix and interact more, and students shift social groups at a higher rate.

At a school of our size and atmosphere, we do not have the same result. Students are less prone to engaging in a true, active hookup culture when they feel that there is a limited, finite number of people in their social scene with which to interact. At a smaller, more insular school, word travels fast. News of hookups is spread within our small social circles, which eliminate hopes of secrecy or privacy. This often leads to students erring on the side of casual with their endeavors, choosing “things” over relationships.

In spite of these consequences from an insular social scene, our atmosphere boasts many benefits as well, namely the tendency for extremely close platonic relationships. Regardless of their love lives, most students find close, rewarding and long-lasting friendships here, which often outlast their four years spent on campus.


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