Journey Magazine attempted to pair up Rattlers for a night of connection and conversation at its “Zoom Speed Dating” eventon Thursday.
While it may not have met the original expectations of some of the participants, they weren’t disappointed with the results. The participants’ open minds and open personalities shone though during this event, creating an enjoyable and enriching evening for all.
Given the consistent stress from social distancing and the predominantly remote classes this year, many students at Florida A&M University seem to be facing something akin to a social drought. While students understand that the precautions in place are for the betterment of the student body, it has turned dating into somewhat of a rarity — if not a safety hazard. Even meeting new people has become difficult due to the lack of face-to-face communication. Journey’s digital content producer and co-host of the event, Aiyana N. Ishmael, described how many of us can no longer build relationships through everyday class interactions.
“Outside of Zoom classes we don’t really get to talk to other people. We’re just sitting in a lecture,” Ishmael said.
The normal venues for social interaction such as Set Fridays and organized in-person events have been deemed dangerous. While many informational or interactive Zoom events may allow our voices to be heard, you still rarely get that one-on-one time that can change a conversation into a connection.
The“Zoom Speed Dating” event was Journey Magazine’s attempt to remedy this social decline by allowing students one-on-one time with fellow Rattlers.
Co-host and Journey’s managing editor , Mia Uzzell, saw this event as an ideal way for students to hone their online dating skills.
“I think it’s a great time for them to kinda have a sense of ingenuity and try to find innovative ways to find a partner in the pandemic,” Uzzell said.
Given Sunday’s Valentine’s Day holiday, speed dating presented as an innovative opportunity. But these dates turned into a “Galentine’s day” frenzy when participants quickly noticed that there was only one male present in a Zoom filled with what appeared to be heterosexual women. While it wasn’t what most expected, many of the participants were able to have meaningful conversations with those who they met. Participant Christele Fleuristal said that while she’d hoped there would be more guyspresent, she didn’t think the men who may have attended would have been as open and conversationalas the women in the audience. This experience allowed her to connect with some of the women and make new friends.
“It was just more friendly conversation since it was all females mostly,” Fleuristal said.
Even the sole male participant, Calvin Miller, was able to take something away from the event.
“At first I thought it was gonna be kinda weird, but,I felt like, ‘Hey, you’re the only guy so they’re gonna have to talk to you.’ It gives you insight on what to do, what to say and how to make someone feel more comfortable,” Miller said.
Many participants enjoyed the event though some had hoped for more time or a smaller number of participants in their virtual rooms.
While it was not the dating spectacle participants thought it would be, Journey’s “Zoom Speed Dating” was still a night to remember.