The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

Dating in the ‘Dale

When it comes to dating in college there are a lot of factors to think about. Do I use dating apps? Am I attracted to him, or is he just my friend? If I go out with the kid from my 9 a.m., will it make class more unbearable than it already is if it goes poorly?

The minefield that is navigating romantic relationships in your late teens and early twenties is almost as difficult as finding your way through campus as a freshman— except it’s even more difficult because there is no map to get you there. 

I decided to start to outline a sort of “map” to guide you through “dating in the ‘Dale,” a.k.a. Allendale, and to paint the picture of the Allendale dating scene from my experiences and my friends’. 

The entire process of dating in Allendale, and college, is surprising from start to finish. 

Especially as a freshman, guys will ask to take you out for a meal… then, take you to the dining hall and use a meal swipe, not even dining dollars. Often they’ll bring you to Kleiner, not even the “hot commodity” places like Panda Express, and make sure that you are choosing the option that works in their “14 meals a week plan” that, more than likely, their parents paid for.

While the start of relationships and dating as a freshman in college seems rocky, the end of relationships and dating as an upperclassman proves to be no better. 

For instance, one of my friends went through a rather tumultuous break-up with her boyfriend, the kind where you are absolutely shocked and aggravated by the crazy conversations you are having. As she walked out the door following the emotionally draining break-up discussion he said to her, “This is a serious question, do you want some of this fish?” He has recently been fishing in the Grand River and truly thought the appropriate goodbye was to offer a fat piece of salmon. She then had to drive home “pondering the ridiculousness of that question.” 

While these stories show the bleak and disappointing sides of the dating scene, the world of dating can also be interesting and insightful. My advice is don’t take anything too seriously when you’re in silly situations. The experiences make an interesting story, and without that, I wouldn’t have a column. They are learning experiences that really show us what we do want and do not want.

I know that we can’t always predict when someone will attempt to give you fish post-break-up but we can observe the patterns that could lead us to that point. From there, we can establish new standards for our dating lives based on what we notice. 

Dating is similar to a lab in college. There are trials and sometimes you have an “error,” and you hope the margin of error is as small as it can be. The unfortunate part about entering the dating scene is that with every bit of “living:” going up to people in public, entering the talking stage and going on dates, leads to a whole lot of “learning:” getting rejected, ghosted and unfortunate outings. 

However, there are many successes we as single people can look forward to when we enter the world of dating: flowers on the first date, charismatic conversations and the moments when you blush and smile without meaning to. 

Unfortunately, the map to dating in the ‘Dale is not as simple as plugging an end location into your GPS. It is more similar to a wrinkled, ripped map that has been in the glove compartment of your car since the ’90s. What’s comforting is knowing that everyone else is just as lost in the process of navigating as you are. However, it is up to us to continue to move forward and explore dating even with the uncertainty. Then we can begin to fill in the blanks of our own dating maps as best as we can, so we can continue to work to find the love we want and deserve.

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About the Contributor
Elizabeth Schanz
Elizabeth Schanz is the Lanthorn's Editor in Chief for the 2023-2024 school year. She previously worked as Arts and Entertainment editor, News editor and a staff writer for the news section throughout her three years at the Lanthorn. Elizabeth is a multimedia journalism and dance major with a minor in history. In her free time she likes to paint, go out for sushi and loves hanging out with her dog Sadie and cat Claire. She is also part of the Fredrik Meijer Honors College and Momentum dance club.
Graduating Winter 2024
Major: Multimedia Journalism and Dance
Minor: History