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Take Me Out

Despite popular belief, steady dating is possible for college students

By LAUREN IRWIN
On November 15, 2012

Think back, Loyola student - when was the last time you went on a date? If it's been a few months or a few years, heaven forbid, know this: you are not alone.
Alex Ward, mass communication junior, chose one word to describe the dating scene at Loyola. "Nonexistent."
"The last time that I experienced just plain chivalry was when I was in the elevator and someone asked me if I came here often," Ward said. "I mean, we were in an elevator."
Other students second her opinion.
"Dating? I think everyone just hooks up," said Jenna Skover, psychology senior.
For those unenthused with prowling late-night bars for romance and tired of dateless weekends, don't throw in the towel on dating in college. There are many options one can take to get a date. If the old-fashioned way of just putting yourself out there isn't working or is too time-consuming, students can try online dating or branching-out events.
The lack of a dating scene might not just be due to the existence of a "hookup culture" but may stem from students' individual hesitancy. Reasons of dating reluctance range from lack of or bad past experiences, lack of education and preparedness on relationships, as well as bodily and sexual insecurities, said Debi Yohn, psychologist and author of "Relationships in College: 25 Winning Strategies for Success."
"Both male and females have similar issues, so there is a partner out there feeling just as fearful as you," Yohn said.
Many graduate and undergraduate students have combated this reluctance by turning to online dating websites.
DateMySchool.com, voted number one College Dating Site and Free Dating site by About.com, is a free online dating website for college students and alumni. It provides a niche in a wide market, enforcing exclusivity by .edu address verification. The site hosts strict privacy settings; users cannot be searched on Google and can personalize their privacy from restricting profile access to individuals, schools, specific departments within schools and to general age ranges.
Created in 2010 by Columbia University graduate students, the dating site has helped over 125,000 students branch out to different departments and other universities. According to the site, 30 percent of Columbia University and New York University's active undergraduate students now use the website.
"Students are busy. They don't have all this time to go to meet new people," said Melanie Wallner, director of public relations for DateMySchool.com. "DateMySchool helps them get offline as soon as possible by meeting people more efficiently."
Wallner, a recent NYU graduate, had great success with DateMySchool.com.
"Personally, it's the best thing that happened to my dating life," Wallner said. "I've gone on two dates this week."
Other popular dating sites for college students include OkCupid.com, Match.com and eHarmony.com.
"A couple of my friends have used Match.com and found what they are looking for," said Crystal LoCicero, finance senior. "One is in a relationship and is happy."
For those wary of online dating, campus events may be a more suitable option. Both Tulane and Loyola universities have created friend-making programs. At the beginning of the semester, Carrollton Hall Resident Assistants held "LoyolaMatch," a late night programming event built on the concept of "speed-friending." Sixty-plus students attended the event and had timed conversation with new faces, making new friends.
In an age of text messaging and social media, people are "loosing the ability to have a conversation," said Katie Cannella, area director of Carrollton Hall. LoyolaMatch was made for students to make new friends, but also to "create spaces to have new conversations," she said. "LoyolaMatch was planned as a one-time event, but if students ask for it again, we'll do it in a heartbeat."
Not feeling a planned event? Indirectly meet new people by getting involved.
"Go to the Student Center. Sign up for Tai Chi, volleyball, choir - something," Yohn said. "Get involved in many different activities so you are exposed to a diversified group of potential mates."
"Don't hang around with just one small group. You are limiting yourself," said Yohn. "If you are shy, make yourself do one thing a day that introduces you to another student."
At the end of the day, know that your dating life is in your hands.
"If you like somebody - more than just being physically attracted to them - you should ask them out," Charlie Larock, mass communication senior, said. "The worst that could happen is they say 'no.' You'll hear 'no' a million times in your lifetime, so you have to get used to it."
 


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