Many people come to college in hopes to find “the one.” However, no one expected a global pandemic to halt their dating endeavors, lowering their chances of finding their boo at university.
Instead of the conventional dating scene where one hopes to meet their partner in a class, organization or walking around campus, students have found creative ways to interact with one another and still shoot their shot.
One popular way is sliding into the Twitter DMs. This technique has worked particularly well for applied mathematics senior Issac Ray, who didn’t expect to start a relationship during the pandemic until he met his girlfriend this past fall.
“I had been single for pretty much the whole fall semester, and I was like, 'Man, this sucks,’” Ray said. “So I was like, I'm just going to find someone who seems nice and is cute and just slide into the DMs, and literally that is what I did. I made a dumb tweet and one of the people who liked that tweet was Anaissa, who then followed me.”
After scrolling through her social media, Ray discovered that he and his soon-to-be girlfriend had mutual followers and interests, like writing.
“I went and read some of her articles, and she had actually just written an article on dating in the pandemic. I straight up lifted one of the strategies that she wrote about, like literally copy pasted and sent it to her. She was impressed that I took the time to read the article, and then we just kept on talking. Now here we are, we've been dating for about two months.”
As for students who had just begun a new relationship before the lockdown hit, they were not expecting their lives to change so quickly, agricultural leadership and development senior Madison Matlock said, who had just begun a long distance relationship in late February 2020.
“We went on our first real date the weekend after Valentine's Day,” Matlock said. “He asked me to be his girlfriend then, and I said, ‘No.’ I just was really scared. I had gotten out of a long relationship previously. I really wanted to be sure that the next person that I was letting in was going to be someone who was going to stay a long time and somebody who was going to be really good for me. About two weeks later I was like, ‘You know what? I do want to be your girlfriend.’”
Though Matlock couldn’t predict what was going to happen, she said she is thankful for the way everything has played out in her relationship.
“The pandemic was one of the best things to happen to us at this time because I got a lot of freedom and a lot of time to grow with him in a new relationship,” Matlock said.
While there are stories of those who met their partners before or during the pandemic, there is a wide number of students who stick to dating apps, such as communication junior Tyler James.
“Many people find their romantic partner that they will eventually marry, especially at this university,” James said. “It's an expected thing that you're going to get married. My parents got married here. My sister met her husband here. I wasn't expecting it because I wasn't looking for the same things they are looking for.”
While dating apps are an accessible way to meet people during these times, James said it can be more difficult to make meaningful connections.
“The way all dating apps work is you're rapidly shown all these people in front of your face,” James said. “You know nothing about these people from a few [photos], even if they have any words on their profile. I think a big thing that I've thought about recently is you don't know anything that these people have been through. I feel like I've had the exact conversation hundreds of times and maybe that's like, sometimes to my fault.”
Whatever way students decide to pursue relationships during these uncertain times, Ray reminds his peers to continue being themselves when in search of a partner.
“I would say this applies to real world dating, not in the pandemic as well, but, you know, be your true and authentic self,” Ray said. “I think something that turned things around for me is trying to be a person who I would want to date.”