Dating culture in college

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Boyfriend and girlfriend students spending time together on romantic date.

By Ariel Morris , Lifestyle writer

Dating life in college may seem liberating as opposed to dating in high school, though the reality of it is very dull for most students. At a party school such as NIU, someone’s  dating life can vary.  People in college may not be interested in getting into relationships; young students may want to use their new freedom to explore life. For some, they might have never been in a relationship until college, so it may seem exhilarating for them at this time.

Dating involves sacrifice, time and personal development, though relationships aren’t meant to save someone from their bad habits. Relationships take maturity and a healthy mindset. College is riddled with young people looking to break constraints from living at home and embrace living on their own with freedom. This new freedom allows them to live without feeling the judgment of others. Because of this, many students in college have experienced hookups rather than committed relationships. 

We are living in a generation that thrives on hookup culture. Hookup culture has become so prevalent that actual dating is far beneath most Gen Z’s objectives, especially now, with online dating being the leading source for many hookups – most people just want sex. Many college students use Tinder for hookups, and about 60 to 80% of American students have hooked up, according to the American Psychological Association. 

Hooking up can lead to controversy. For example, if everyone was hooking up with each other, sexually transmitted diseases could make their rounds on campus. Dating life can be difficult, but not impossible. 

Many women entering college expect to find their significant other in school. Nearly 63% of straight women believe they will find “Mr. Right” by graduation, according to a survey conducted by the Independent Women’s Forum. Suzanne Degges-White, professor and chair of Counseling and Counselor Education, said that looking for “Mr. Right” might end up in you finding “Mr. Wrong.” 

“Finding your significant other in college shouldn’t be the sole focus. College is meant for people to explore and figure out more about themselves,” Degges-White said. “Being in a relationship can strip away opportunities throughout college because students may have to consider their partners, especially if an opportunity is career related.”

Though online dating is prevalent for modern hookups, people still use it with intentions to find a significant other, especially in college. Dating can still be attainable, and though it may be more difficult, the chances of finding love in college are still optimal.