Safe ways to look for love during winter

When college students were sent home in Spring 2020, some rejoiced while others did not. When the reality of online learning began to settle in, many students struggled. Another consequence of stay-at-home orders, perhaps less noticeable at first, was a negative affect on students’ social life. 

Many students are tech savvy and communicate regularly with friends and family via virtual channels. According to United Healthcare, humans greatly benefit from physical interactions like hugs. United Healthcare claims that human touch has myriad health benefits, including lowering stress. 

As the winter season or “cuffing season” sets in, students might be feeling pressure to find a partner to talk to, even if they can’t see them in person right now. When grandparents and nosey aunts ask the traditional “are you dating anyone” question during the holidays, students may struggle to find an answer. How are students supposed to connect with potential partners and continue dating during stay-at-home?

Creative and entrepreneurial people, many of them college students themselves, have endeavoured to solve this problem. So, for students stuck in their small hometowns, with the same 700 people they went to high school with as Tinder match options, there is still hope. 

When the “Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” was postponed due to coronavirus, students may have despaired. However, if students are extroverted enough to want to try to fall in love on camera, similar to their favorite tv shows, they can do so with newly formed reality shows on Instagram’s IGTV. 

Students at University of California, Berkeley started “Love Campus.” According to their Instagram it is, “just your friendly neighborhood online college dating show,” which is now on season two. 

The Lutrinae staffer Emma Garcia spoke with show creator Lena Reibstein about the project. Reibstein said “Love Campus” helps create community and is especially helpful for incoming freshmen that “don’t have a social hub.” 

Reibstein was inspired to create “Love Campus” by other colleges doing their own versions of the Netflix show “Love is Blind.” Along with the “Love Campus” myriad, similar shows popped up on Instagram geared at helping people find love virtually. While there are many focused on helping students in particular, others are trying to steal the “Bachelor’s” audience. 

Some popular ones are “Sheltered in Love,” “In A World: The Dating Show,” and “LOVE IS QUARANTINE.” So, for outgoing people looking to shoot their shot during stay-at-home orders, there are certainly options.

This kind of public visibility (or embarrassment) is not every student’s cup of tea. For the more introverted student, there are options as well. Searching speed dating on Eventbrite yields myriad choices. 

Whether students are looking for singles in their area or with specific criteria, like vegans who are also coders, there are events out there. If students are extra shy they can go on “Love is Blind” style speed dates via Zoom. 

Ava Gibler, a fourth-year Liberal Studies major at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, recently attended a “Love is Blind” style event. “Even though I didn’t walk away with a serious match it was still fun talking to people outside my quarantine circle,” Gibler said.

Another bonus to this format, according to Gibler, was switching from the hook-up, short-term relationship style of Tinder to a more meaningful one. She said she felt the people in attendance were more serious about finding a partner.

However, for students who do prefer the app-based relationship search there are some options that are particularly suited to stay-at-home orders. Apps that have a video feature allow prospective matches to “meet-up” while at home and safely get to know each other. Bumble, Curtn and Lively all offer video chatting features.

College students need not give up on love and dating during shelter-in-place. All the lonely college students out there can try these safe ways to meet people over winter break. Who knows, maybe they can find someone to bring to an in-person holiday party next year.

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