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Is university a good place to find a date?

By Jill Girgulis, February 9, 2016 —

If there really are plenty of fish in the sea, then there must be something wrong with the water at the University of Calgary.

I’ve been told that university will be my best chance to meet a future partner. This is because — as these well-meaning people point out to me — at no other period in my life will I find myself surrounded by so many similarly-aged guys who are focused, motivated and share many of my interests.

I guess they figure that if a person is capable of making it through a three-hour organic chemistry final, then everything that may come later in life — like raising a child, for instance — will be a breeze. But is this really the case?

I was interested in determining how often university students begin romantic relationships with fellow undergrads. In a survey of 170 students in the greater MacHall area, we found that number to be astonishingly low. A mere 34 students — 20 per cent — said they had been in a relationship with someone they met during their undergrad.

The remaining 80 per cent had either not had a relationship at the time of the survey or, if they had, it wasn’t thanks to the U of C.

So why do only a small proportion of us, according to our sample, date our classmates? Despite the supposedly convincing arguments otherwise, I believe it’s partly due to the same factor that dictates our lecture hall seatmates — a refusal to change things up.

Once a new semester gets underway, many students fall into predictable patterns of behaviour with regards to where they choose to sit during their lectures. This doesn’t help meet new friends or potential romantic partners. There’s no guarantee you’ll meet new people throughout the course of the semester. Once you decide where to plant yourself, there’s not as much classmate interaction as one would think. We tend to get stuck in our ways, and this may play into why more university relationships don’t take off.

School isn’t an undergrad’s whole life, either — for many students, dates are made with people they meet at their jobs, online, at church, on a sports team, at a party or just by coincidence. School is not the only gathering of single folks.

So despite the seemingly big ocean we’re all swimming in, if dating is something you’re interested in right now, then it’s really just up to you to make that happen. With thousands of students, we’re not exactly short of options. 

With the information provided, aided by my own speculations, I declare this myth: PLAUSIBLE.

Jill Girgulis is a second-year neuroscience student who investigates campus urban legends in her monthly column U of C Mythbusters.

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