Picture this, it’s a Friday night and you just got dinner with your roommates at your favorite dining hall. You do not have to worry about wearing a mask, sanitizing the table before you sit down or sitting six feet from someone else. After dinner, you take the five-minute walk back to your dorm. On the way, you run into a few people that your roommate knows and just like that, you made five new friends. Later that night, you take a trip down to the lounge on your floor and watch a movie with fifteen other students and you talk about how excited you are for the upcoming campus concert. Maybe you are feeling brave and decide to make it out to a party where there are hundreds of people crowded together in a basement, the music so loud you can barely think. Carefree college days, the best. Reminiscing back to three years ago, when I was a freshman, it was so easy to hang out, meet new people and even potential romantic interests, serious or casual.
This has got me thinking… how are these poor freshmen supposed to meet and mingle with one another? How are they supposed to explore new relationships? The college atmosphere went from encouraging you to socialize to punishing you for it. Two weeks of quarantine here, two weeks there. Stay within your bubble, no more than ten people congregating at a time and don’t dare forget your mask. What a buzz kill. The “college experience – the best four years of your life” is what every high school student looks forward to. Now there is no concerts, no sporting events, no Greek life, no parties and no dating just one sweat pant wearing zoom class after another. Don’t get me wrong, it is what is needed to be done to keep the COVID-19 positivity rates down and people safe, but my heart bleeds for these freshmen. No Valentine’s parties, flowers or chocolates this year, it’s a love lockdown.
My cousin is a freshman at a college that is still fully remote, and I have watched her struggle with making friends, trying to rush a sorority, meet other students and date. Just as she started to get to know her roommate and make friends, all of the freshmen were sent home as the COVID positive rates started to skyrocket. She has tried the online social events that the school hosts but it is just not the same. What is she supposed to do? Should she try online dating apps such as Tinder? I’m sure at some point, she would like to meet someone face-to-face and go on a real date. COVID and quarantining has impacted the college dating scene from trying to start a new relationship to trying to maintain one. New relationships are nonexistent and existing relationships are stressed. Spending too much time together can have a negative effect too, by quarantining together, couples are invading each other’s personal space and getting on each other’s nerves. Freshman year is hard enough. Now meeting new people and love interests seems impossible and keeping current relationships strong is challenging too. On the bright side, connecting virtually couples can focus on their compatibility and get to know each other on an emotional level before a physical one which could lead to a longer, stronger relationship but that doesn’t make up for all that they are missing.
Through the trials and tribulations of the pandemic, so many freshmen are putting dating on hold. Staying safe and healthy has trumped dating. Hopefully as people start getting vaccinated and COVID positivity and death rates decrease the college dating scene will return to its glory days. Hang in there freshman, let’s look forward to sophomore year where love will be in the air not COVID!