February 6, 2023
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What is your experience with dating at IC?

When given the prompt on dating and relationships, I was unsure how to approach writing this. I wondered how I could write about my experiences without embarrassing myself, but then I realized that dating can be embarrassing, so I figured I’d go for it. Going into college, I told myself I would try to step out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. I have taken some baby steps to become that bold person that I wanted to be, but as most of my friends can attest, my face’s ability to turn bright red at even the first sign of embarrassment doesn’t exude confidence. Beyond my easily flustered personality, there are several other reasons that I have found dating to be a struggle in college.

I hate dating apps. Dating apps are the most common way people meet nowadays. My greatest struggle with these apps is that I am a verbal communicator. Messaging on the apps stresses me out because I overthink my texts and run out of witty things to say. While the obvious solution would be to actually meet the person, I always chicken out. Yet, despite my hatred for all the texting, every few months I find myself swiping through, just seeing who is out there.

“Something casual” seems to be what many people are looking for, yet everyone has different definitions of what it means. I’m still not sure how I would define it, but I have realized it’s not what I want. While watching a movie in someone’s room or having a study date in the library can be great, I also want to go out and take advantage of all that Ithaca has to offer. To do this, I would have to muster up the courage to meet someone in person, but I’d like to think if the opportunity arose, I’d take it.

I am busy. Like most college students, my classes, clubs and job occupy most of my time. Balancing these responsibilities along with finding time to see my friends can be difficult. I often find it hard to imagine fitting dating into that equation as well.

The Ithaca Curse. While there is no scientific evidence to prove this, I truly believe there is a curse over Ithaca College. On countless occasions, just after someone mentions how they haven’t seen someone in a while, or that they hope to never see that person again, you end up seeing them the next day or so. Sometimes the curse can be nice because you get to run into a friend you haven’t seen in a while, but other times you find yourself having to swiftly exit a dining hall hoping that person didn’t see you. Adding to the awkwardness of the curse is the fact that somehow everyone knows each other on this campus. You start talking to someone online and it turns out they went on a date last week with your roommate’s lab partner or your coworker’s neighbor.

I am afraid. While all the reasons listed before are valid, at the end of the day fear is what holds me back. I could figure out a way to make dating apps work for me or find another means of meeting people. I could learn to better express what I am looking for. I could find a way to make the time to put the effort into dating. The first step, however, is telling that voice in my head to stop getting in my way. To stop letting fear keep me from making connections. 

Maybe this will be my rom-com moment, where after writing about the woes of dating for a newspaper column, I bump into someone as I walk the college campus. We lock our eyes and there is an instant spark between us. Finding an appreciation for love, I completely change my article and a sappy love song plays as we walk into the sunset. But if I have learned anything over the past four years, it’s that dating is not like it is in the movies. 

Stephanie Fine can be reached at sfine@ithaca.edu