With the college “hookup culture,” it’s hard to establish a real relationship with someone and even harder to keep one.

Something I’ve learned time and time again is that college is remarkably similar to high school. Just like when I was 15, there’s still drama, confusing signals and the “where are we” stage. Another aspect of dating that’s comparable to high school is senior year. Of course, when I was 17, I thought I would be with my boyfriend forever – at least until graduation came around and we went our separate ways.

On the other hand, college and high school differ because you’re not necessarily forced to be in college. In high school, everyone is dying to get their diploma and move on, not seeming to really care about their studies. However, in college, people actually want to be here and are studying a subject they’re really passionate about or interested in. This makes finding someone similar to yourself a lot easier. Although it might take time to find a person who matches you perfectly, it’s definitely possible to date others who share the same interests and values as you.

Dating in college is tricky because you’re older and more mature than a teenager, yet there’s still a time stamp at the end of it all. Personally, I don’t like dating someone who I can’t see a future with, because really, what’s the point? If you date knowing you’re going to break up, you’re kind of just asking for heartbreak. Although this idea of searching for someone who will last in the future is hard, I can attest to the fact that it is possible.

I’m in my senior year, and I have seen an excessive amount of couples start to fall apart at the seams. I think distance, commitment and the fear of being in the “real world” has a lot to do with this. Post-college plans can be difficult to talk about, but I think it’s something that should be addressed earlier rather than later. Since 43 percent of the student population at the University of Rhode Island is out-of-state, you’re bound to date someone who is from a different state than yourself.

I used to think the “what are we” talk was the most strenuous conversation you’d have with your significant other, but the “what do we do after college” talk might be a little more serious. If you’re in a relationship by the time graduation approaches, I think it’s important to have this chat – no matter what stage of the relationship you’re in. Post-college is already stressful because you need to find a job, worry about where you’re going to live and how much money you’re going to make — and if that wasn’t hard enough, now you have to consider another person as well.

My boyfriend and I have been dating for three school years, and although we’re about to graduate, I don’t think much will change. There’s not a doubt in my mind that we won’t make it through more years to come because we’re on the same page about our goals and plans after school  — something I would recommend to anyone in a relationship. Know what your significant other wants, their dream job, where they want to live and their overall intentions in the future. If they don’t plan on staying, now is probably the time to work that out. On the other hand, if they want to plan a future with you, that’s something to consider now and start planning for. Plus, this newfound information will make graduation even more exciting.