Social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions have created a unique set of obstacles for college students to overcome in order to meet that special someone.

“Right before the pandemic started, I had just gotten ready to start seriously trying to date, and then it just, my plans just went through the roof,” said Jakob Janoski, a junior journalism major, and the ‘Matt James’ of the Bachelor-inspired DA Date Show.

On the show, which aired on the DA’s Facebook on Valentine’s Day, Janoski asked the three contestants various questions about their likes, dislikes and hobbies, as well as questions about dating. In the end, Janoski invited contestant two, Sarah Ashton Hollen, to accompany him on a date at Bourbon Prime inside the Morgantown Marriott.

Hollen, a freshman psychology major, said isolation has made dating during the pandemic especially difficult.

“I think dating is hard all the time but especially when, you know, we’re so isolated now, we can’t see really anybody,” she said.

The risk of quarantine has also made it harder to meet new people.

“I’m not trying to add people to my circle really because my circle was a little too big last semester and I got quarantined twice,” Janoski said.

While dating during a pandemic poses more challenges, according to Hollen, dating for college students was never easy.

“It’s hard to find people, especially our age,” Hollen said. “And like hookup culture, and like everything like that. It’s hard to find somebody who’s ready for an actual real relationship, real mature relationship.”

Hollen said the pandemic has made these already difficult dating challenges worse.

“It’s hard to keep a steady relationship going when you don’t have that personal connection; it’s mainly just over the phone,” Hollen said. “So that’s really hard. Communication is hard already, but communication during a pandemic, that just made it like 10 times harder.”

Fortunately by participating in the DA Date Show, Janoski and Hollen were able to briefly escape some of their pandemic-related dating challenges and enjoy participating in the competition.

“I loved it. I loved; it was just super fun,” Hollen said. “Making new friends even with the girls, like it was just, we’re such good friends now which is so fun.”

Staff Writer

Lara Bonatesta is new to the DA this year. She is from Branchburg, New Jersey and is a sophomore journalism major and minor in trumpet performance.