Challenges of College Dating According to Students

In today's age where hookup culture runs our social lives, it's hard to find a connection with people on a deeper level. Old school dating in college is becoming increasingly rare, and actually going on dates is almost unheard of. According to a study on women in college, one third of seniors had been on only two dates in their four years. This statistic is hardly surprising. I interviewed people from all over the American University campus on their thoughts on modern dating while in school. Check them out below! 

1. What do you think is the worst thing about millenial dating in college? 

                                                                       

I asked this question because many student's first response to being asked if they wanted to participate in this interview was an eye roll. Maybe that was because interviews are time consuming, but I suspect that it was because of the topic. 

Emma: At American specifically, the Greek community is so small that people are afriad to be labeled by, like Sigma Apple Pie as the crazy or needy girl because they know it will spread, even if its not true. Also the Greek community culture has put such an emphasis on status that people try to only hookup with people who are in the best fraternities or soroities instead of actually looking for anyone who would be nice to date.

Joe: The fact that there isn’t enough of it [dating], people are trying to do jobs and internships but at the same time they feel like they don’t have time to have a relationship and that’s upsetting because I’m a fan of relationships.

Jessica: It [dating] doesn’t exist, like people ask you to hang out after the sun has set and 4 cocktails in. I don’t understand, there are people I'd like to get to know over coffee but that’s not a thing people do anymore.

Jackson: I don’t really like the idea of hookup culture, and think it's gross. I always get physically sick when I'm a part of it and that sucks so it grosses me out. 

2. What do you think is the best thing about millenial dating while in college? 

People hesitated and definitely struggled with this question. The majority of people I intereviwed talked about social media and how large of a role it plays in getting to know someone before you've even really gotten to meet them.

Meghan: It has made a kind of sex positivity around everyone in our generation, which is cool.

Emmett: You can just go to a party and hookup with anyone. There will always be someone and if I'm being serious for a second…that hardest problem I have is finding a girl my size. 

Brandon: The whole social media aspect can be a double edged sword in the sense that it is good to get a feel of people before hooking up or going on a date based on their social media. I know that there are people I would never go on a date with and social media helps me weed out the ones who don’t have the same values or views as I do politically or socially, and that's important to me.

Emma: The concept of going on a blind date is gone. With outlets like Facebook and Instagram you can know a lot about people's lives before meeting them. It's like I can hang out with a guy and be thinking "how was your aunt's trip to Bermuda in 2015?". Unfortunately this also leads to people putting on a persona online that may not be who they really are. 

3. How can we improve as people who date like this? 

It's great to talk about what is good and bad about modern dating, but ultimately we can't change anything unless we as a generation have a path to enact this change. I wanted to know how the people who hated the way we dated the most, thought we could change it. 

Jackson: I don’t really think there's a way to improve. At this point in time there's too much virtual stimulus to allow us to change as a culture, so it's probably just going to get worse, which sucks.

Anna: Communcation and being honest with each other. There are so many texting games and I just want someone to tell me how they're feeling about me. I would appreciate that more than just sitting around trying to figure out how we feel about each other.

Meghan: Start being direct and stop hiding from emotion. If it doesn’t work out then tell yourself that's okay. Stop being afraid to tell people how you feel. We're grown ass adults, it's not that serious.

Joe: Stop limiting yourself to certain fraternities because of social status connotations. There are great guys everywhere and to limit yourself to certain organizations is childish.

4. Who do you think is the biggest victim in modern dating? 

After asking students of many different genders and backgrounds, I found that their responses were all over the place on this question. In general though, everyone could agree with the pessimistic view that if you're someone who wants a relationship during this time period, you're screwed. 

Lauren: In every millennial relationship there is always someone who cares more or someone who’s afraid to be the clingy one. The person who cares more in the relationship is definitely the biggest victim. 

Joe: The people who are the vicitms are the people who want to date because the mass a majority don’t and are just looking for hookups. 

Brandon: Black women are very much victims because they need to get more credit than they do, and more attention. In the queer world, Black gays and women get overlooked because we get fetishized or overlooked. Also trans people because the media always portrays them as people who are just transitioning and never as people who are looking to have relationships.

Tiffany: Everyone is a victim in a generation where everything is based on physical attraction and hooking up. When physical attraction is the basis of a relationship both people suffer from body issues.

5. Who or what do you think perpertuates this dating culture the most?

Not that we need to go around blaming people for the way our generation dates now, but I was curious to see who or what college students thought caused this dating problem that we have. 

Joe: Greek life. It enforces hookup culture, and I'm not a fan of that because most of the parties that are thrown at AU are conducive to hooking up and not actually getting to meet someone.

Jessica: We all do. I'm really bad about it personally because I'm not looking for anything serious, so I'm pushing the agenda that you see overwhelmingly in college aged men which is a push for lack of communication and less emotion and more sex.

Jackson: Social media as a broad construct just based on higher expectations that we see throughout the media, specifically Facebook, of relationships. Facebook sucks! 

Meghan: I would say guys, honestly. Not trying to say that I hate men, but I think that in a culture that already shames emotions, guys have really run with this idea that they don’t have to ask for a relationship because they can get what they want out of a casual thing, but still treat it like a girlfriend.

6. Do you think that the academic environment adds pressure to date like this? 

American University prides itself on being academically challenging and a place were driven student can suceed. So given that everyone I interviewed attends American University, I thought that I'd find out if people thought that this hardcore environment impacted the way that they dated. 

Annika: Specifically at AU it probably does because of the schools' vibe of pushing yourself too hard. So people don’t want to put in the time for dating, and hooking up is an easier alternative.

Jessica: I don’t think so. I've always been very driven so school will always come before dating, but if I'm going to date someone they're going to have to sit in the library with me and do homework together, the two things will just have to coexist. If you want to be with someone you will put in that effort to make it work. 

Brandon: Yes definitely, I think when you're in school you have so many things that grab your attention and dating like this provides a safety net to fall into. Like we don’t have to interact that much and we can keep each other updated through our devices while we do what we need to do. So its like focus on relationship and sacrifice school or the opposite.

Meghan: I have seen girls in my sorority who balance everything so my message from AU is that you should be able to get the 4.0, get an internship, and have a boyfriend. So I’ve never seen academics interfering with a relationship.

7. Is there a story about modern dating that's happened to you that you'd like to share? 

I saved the best part for last! 

Lauren: Halloweekend last semester I got back to my dorm after a fraternity party and I encounted a boy laying on the ground outside my door near the stairwell. I thought he was passed out so I went to ask if he was okay and his eyes flew open. He then tried to expain to me that he couldn’t find his ID because he was very drunk and because of a situation that occured earlier that night. Then he asked me to lay down next to him, but I said no and I invited him into my dorm to help him sober up. So in my dorm we then had sex, which was really bad because we were wasted and we never introduced ourselves to each other. A few weeks later he comes knocking on my door at 1:30AM like a true milennial and I let him in, he finally told me his first name and then he gave me my first orgasm.

Joe: First semester freshman year I had a girlfriend and we both liked each other but she couldn’t put in the time and it was upsetting that she put things like Greek life over our relationship and that was not very fun to deal with. 

Emmett: At the begining of the year I was falling for this girl, and I really liked her. But then she backstabbed me and I found out she was only really in it for that hookup status. 

Tiffany: One time this boy would literally not reject me and strung me along and was probably talking to five or six other girls and I had to make him give me a definitive answer and tell me that we weren't going to hang out. I hate that I used the words "hang out" because that’s stupid and its annoying that he was actively liking another girls but also having me in rotation because if it didn’t work with her then he was like maybe I can have her next semester, and that's how we date now a days.

Emma: I based my whole casual hookup with someone and their feelings towards me off of them opening and returning my snapchats or not. Then when I saw this girl liking and commenting on his Facebook posts I got mad because I thought they might be having a thing also, which is irrational but very millenial of me. 

Although all the students came from different background and experinces, one thing can be said for everyone, we all hate the way we currently date. People are constantly talking about relationships and dating and how much it sucks, but nothing can happen unless we chage it ourselves. The way we go about dating recently is clearly not going to fix itself on its own. Start being bold again! Express your feelings, put yourself out there, don't be afraid to tell someone how you feel. Yes, laying it all on the table for another person might be incredibly uncomfortable and nerve-racking but we won't change unless we start being honest with ourselves and each other.

Photo Credits: Cover, 1 Photo by Katrina Kincade, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Photo by Katrina Kincade