With Valentine’s Day coming up, I took it upon myself to explore the dating scene here at UCR. A lot can be learned about the trial and error of relationships from reading other people’s stories in the media, magazines or books. Everyone is different yet we all crave companionship.

The dating scene can get quite messy. Rejected? Get back up and try again (with someone else of course). But the first problem may be how to ask someone out. Michael Torres, a fourth-year creative writing major who has dated since he was 16, said that he likes to get to know someone as friends first before asking them out. Once a date is set, his pre-date routine includes going to get a haircut the day of the date and picking out his outfit. Torres also believes in holding the door for his date and paying if he initiated the date.

“I think I can still believe in equality between men and women with the idea that men should still hold the door open.” Torres is a forward person who does not let one rejection discourage him from asking others out. “My friend once told me fortune favors the bold, which means not to think too much about things. If you want to ask someone out just do it.” This is a great piece of advice for those of us that are shy or worry too much about the outcomes.

Tania Hurtado, a third-year anthropology major, has been in a relationship for four and a half years. She met her boyfriend in high school but they didn’t attend the same school until this year when he transferred to UCR. A high school relationship that has continued to grow even in college can be difficult to keep up, so how has Hurtado maintained a strong relationship? ”I feel like giving each other space is what’s kept our relationship going. If you do things separately you have stuff to talk about and you miss each other. Space is really necessary because you don’t want to overwhelm the other person.” A simple piece of advice but it works for her.

Martha Pineda, a third-year sociology major has been in a relationship for almost three years that began in high school. She has had to overcome the obstacles of long distance dating for nearly a year. When it comes to long distance relationships, most people are skeptical and always point out the negatives. Pineda, on the other hand, figured out a way to make things work. “We just kept in contact a lot and we both knew how we felt about each other so we were confident.”

“You definitely have to have a lot of trust because physically the other person is not there so if you don’t have trust it’s not going to work,” says Pineda. Trust in any relationship is important, but in long distance relationships it is the ultimate foundation that keeps it together.

Catalina Macias, a fifth-year psychology major, shared her most memorable date with us. “This guy took me on his motorcycle to the beach and then we had dinner right by the beach. It was my first time on a motorcycle so I could see how it could be someone’s worst date but he made sure I was comfortable.”

But with memorable dates come embarrassing dates as well. For Macias it was when she fell asleep at the drive-in. “I had worked a really long shift earlier that day but I still really wanted to go on the date so I didn’t want to cancel. During the second movie I fell asleep through the whole thing. I remember waking up to the credits and I think he was shocked but I think he took my explanation as genuine.” Everyone has an embarrassing moment, what matters is how you handle the situation. The guy Macias was at the drive in with eventually became her boyfriend, so embarrassing moments can lead to more memorable ones.

Esmer Garcia, a fourth-year media and cultural studies major, approaches dating as something more casual. “I don’t think of dating as dating, but as hanging out.”

“I’m not someone that freaks out about going on a date. It’s not my priority. My priority is me,” stated Garcia. This is a really confident mindset that some may not have developed yet; in college people are always changing and growing. Garcia is attracted to guys that are confident in themselves as well.

James Bartolo, a third-year biochemistry major, has been in a relationship for almost two years. He met his girlfriend in his hall freshmen year and they became friends. Bartolo stated he did see a lot of people at first, but she never judged him. He grew out of that lifestyle and wanted to have that one person that would always be there for him. “We had been studying for a while, and we decided to go to a movie. I held her hand and she smiled and put her head on my shoulder.” From there the relationship slowly progressed from a friendship to a relationship. Going from being good friends to more than friends can be a turbulent transition that people might not be willing to go through. But for Bartolo, he didn’t want to wait around. He thinks men should be the ones to initiate the move.

It can be tough to meet that special someone in college or to go on successful dates. Still, it’s important to remember that everyone has experienced good and bad dates. It is through trial and error that you learn about yourself and how to approach different situations. If you are single or in a relationship, remember that college is a growing experience and just one point in your life.