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The college years are often one of the most exciting periods in life. The teenage years are coming to a close, and adulthood is just around the corner. Most youths have just gained freedom from strict monitoring of their social lives in high school and grades.

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Most articles about dating in college read like a fresh, steaming pile of bull sā€”t. Anyways, I think most writers feed their readers lines of crap. Maybe they take pleasure in scamming the hearts of the insecure. Either way, I want someone to tell you the truth.

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For Dela Cruz, there is no alternative to virtual dating. Kathy Martinez, 23, a sophomore studying ing and business management at Los Angeles Mission College, says that she is no stranger to social media apps like Instagram. She says those two weeks were tough because phone calls and FaceTime were a sad substitute for their normally daily interactions together. Dela Cruz says that the online experience allows for people to get real very quickly if they are up for it. There are also typically plenty of visitors around, making it a bit more safe on a first date.

Sara Panetta, 26, a senior studying public health at California State University Los Angeles, shares a home with her grandparents. Panetta admits that before the pandemic, they spent a lot of time socializing with other couples.

On the upside, however, Dela Cruz says that meeting sharing a video game experience on a first or second date is a great way to get to know someone without feeling pressure to be too intimate, too soon. Mahima Bollapragda, a junior studying psychology at the University of California, Riverside, is also very cautious when she goes out with a date. Martinez pulled into the parking lot before her date arrived. He hardly leaves the safety of his apartment. Courtesy, Kathy Martinez The pandemic has not slowed Kathy Martinez, a sophomore at Los Angeles Mission College, from dating but says she will be more vigilant about health safety.

And since he is Russian, we talked about our upbringing and cultural differences. for EdSource's Comments Policy. Now she is finding herself having to find a place to safely meet with her date, other than her own apartment.

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Virtual dating on popular video game sites. Now Hernandez and his partner find fun in hanging out at home, doing homework and watching movies on the couch. Looking back, I should have been more careful given all the things with the pandemic going on. Thanks for ing up!

Catherine Valdez and Jorge Garcia January 25, Republish this article. Many students find that courting during a pandemic has become much more difficult and cumbersome due to well-founded fears of contracting a deadly virus during a date or potentially exposing loved ones back at home after going on a date. We go on rides or workout together to stay active.

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Sara Panetta, a California State University, LA student, and her boyfriend enjoy an afternoon hike as the pandemic has driven them closer to each other through more and better communication skills. Martinez said she used Instagram to set up her first pandemic date because the app made her feel comfortable since it connects users to friends of mutual friends or other acquaintances.

She even climbed into his car, so they could drive to a nearby In-N-Out Burger to grab a bite. But as a result of a recent breakup, Martinez began to turn more often to Instagram and Tinder and other apps to meet new people.

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Dating via gaming more efficiently means having to balance play time with talk time, he says. Bollapragada lives in Southern California and her paramour lives in the Bay Area. Later that night, they visited a viewpoint overlooking the San Fernando Valley.

So they have agreed to meet for the first time.

Highlighting strategies for student success

The pair decided to meet at Balboa Park, a popular hangout in the San Fernando Valley known for its romantic vistas. Shortly after her boyfriend recovered and tested negative, the couple began a routine of ordering out and watching their favorite shows to make up for the time they lost. Recently Dela Cruz did lower his guard a bit and went on a date with someone he has been connecting with online for the past couple of months. Daniel Hernandez, 22, a junior studying administrative management student at California State University Dominguez Hills, says that he did not take the threat of the pandemic to heart until several friends contracted the virus and developed severe symptoms.

Instead of allowing themselves to get physically close to each other or even hold hands, the two would-be love birds agreed that touching and kissing was off limits. Dela Cruz says he knows the night has gone well when his date is willing to exchange contact information after playing games online. I actually lost a few friends because of the virus.

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He had stopped en-route to buy both of them a cup of milk-tea with boba. But the weirdness and discomfort had not stopped him from at least trying to date ā€” at least with other video gamers like himself. It has given me more confidence.

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However, the truth is, Bollapragda says, the two have grown tired of allowing the pandemic and the roughly mile distance keep them apart physically. While none of these solutions are ideal or as romantic as holding hands on the beach, college students determined to carry on the ritual of dating are searching for ways to safely spark romantic relationships. But now she finds herself about to go on a new date with a person she has become quite fond of during the pandemic.

Dela Cruz offers another tip for gamers who want to date each other: Break the ice and get to know each as much as possible prior to starting the game. Build-in talk time or FaceTime time before the games begin or take advantage of the waiting time in gaming queue rooms, which can take up to 10 minutes long.

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She recalls being proud of dating at college because she was so cautious. I'm a human. However, unlike her first date and for reasons she finds hard to explain, Martinez agreed to let her second date pick her up at home. What followed next was entirely new for her compared to her dating experiences pre-pandemic, Martinez said. Dela Cruz has gone on four gaming dates from the comfort of his home so far during the Covid quarantine.

The pandemic is altering daily campus life for college students across the country, from forced online learning to canceled football games and graduation ceremonies. The could-be couple first began to connect online and over the phone in late February. Single students are not the only ones having to make big changes in their love lives these days. The two began their initial chats on the app, but then eventually traded phone s.

So far, she has only been on two dates since the pandemic struck.

Students are opting for car-to-car meetups, virtual dating and ever so careful get togethers.

It appears, the biggest problem and challenge for students wanting to remain safe is having to keep their guard up over time as love blossoms or the of dates increases. The fear of contracting Covid or infecting a loved one makes it difficult for him to even consider meeting up with people in person. Dating and socializing has taken a huge hit, too.

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All comments are moderated for civility, relevance and other considerations. Basically, any multiplayer game will do the trick, he says since such platforms allow players to talk or text each other in real-time while they build new worlds and chase aliens. Student Health. Some of those in ongoing relationships have also readjusted their behaviors in big and small ways to remain as safe as can be without losing their love connections. So shortly after the pandemic took root in Southern California, she began to limit how often she saw in person her boyfriend of eight years. We talked about our mutual friends.

Even with the delightful surprise, Martinez admits there was a bit of an awkward silence in the beginning.

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Bollapragda shares an apartment with two roommates, and while only one of them raised concerns about bringing her date over it was enough for her to make a back-up plan. Her searches have yielded only two dates during the past seven months, but she believes those dates have improved her dating prospects ā€” and her dating habits ā€” for the better. They found comfort in the notion that a key ingredient in their success so far has been taking the time to build trust and familiarity with each other over an extended period of time. Making connections to potential love interests via FaceTime, Tinder and Instagram.

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Once he got home, he washed his hands vigorously before removing his mask and then for extra measure, he took a hot shower. And for a long time they each felt good about keeping their distance and being safe. Dela Cruz says he enjoys the challenge and excitement of bonding with a date while playing games.

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We welcome your comments. Still, he says, there is a noticeable lack of intimacy compared to seeing someone face-to-face.

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And in the beginning of the date Martinez and her new friend both left the windows of their cars down. On the day of the date, Martinez turned down an offer to be picked up in order to keep a safe distance and to keep her home address private. Martinez says that she set the initial ground rules and her date was more than willing to oblige, including a request for both of them to self-quarantine for a period of time before meeting up.

Car-to-car meet-ups.