Only 15 per cent of married people met their spouses on campus, according to a 2004 study.
It wasn’t always like this. Before 1955, 40 per cent of female college graduates had met their husband at school. Think about that for a second. In a time without cell phones, text messaging, and e-mail—let alone dating websites—university students easily found love in person.
Now, campus dating websites are popping up at universities all across Canada—from UTODating at the University of Toronto, Connections on Campus at Alberta to McGill Date—and they’re supposed to make things easier.
In my opinion, the websites actually make it harder to find a long-term partner. Here’s why:
First, the sites allow their patrons to zero-in on potential companions based not only on appearance, but also by major. Allowing students to isolate searches to their own ideals of beauty and narrow academic interests promotes shallow behaviour. I’ve seen this often enough to know that it leads to superficial connections with little chance of becoming long-term relationships.
On top of that, dating websites are also making students scared to search for connections in the real world. Campus dating websites mean students are no longer forced to get out of their comfort zones and interact with people around them. In fact, so few people are striking up conversations with strangers that you’re now seen as creepy and desperate if you do. It shouldn’t be that way.
Instead of spending all day reviewing pictures of potential partners in our bedrooms, why not introduce ourselves in the pub, at a hockey game, or to the person sitting beside us in the library?
One of the best parts of the university experience is the connections with people who may change our lives. So let’s shut down our laptops and start talking to those potential dates in front of us.
Ravanne Lawday is in Year Two of English/Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta.