Riding the dating-go-round

10:06, November 26, 2010      

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College students chat at a speed dating event at Central South University in Changsha, Hunan Province on November 13. Photo: Courtesy of Di Keda

Dai Pengjun, a third-year finance graduate student, is happy to see his life become more colorful after getting to know two female friends recently. He frequently invites them to have a cup of tea or to dance at his school, Central South University in Changsha, Hunan Province.

He met them after talking with more than 10 woman at a speed-dating event organized by the university's grad student union on November 13.

The event attracted 1,200 applicants from Changsha universities. With space limited, the organizers could only choose 300 participants, half women and half men.

The dating included three sections: four minutes of chatting, games and group pictures. It lasted for four hours, and saw 40 couples quickly "matched," according to Di Keda, 25, the chairman of the union and also an ideological and political education grad student.

"It creates more opportunities for grad students to meet friends of the opposite sex, which is good for their psychological health,'' said Di.

Many grad students' worlds become cloistered due to studies and they have fewer chances to meet other men or women. Though they are in their 20s or 30s, some have never even begun a relationship, said Di. "As time goes by, they become poor communicators."

Breaking the ice

On the speed dating day, most applicants dressed up. After a few minutes of anxiety, some students finally broke the ice and the atmosphere became more energized. Participants said they had learned a lot from the experience.

"Starting a conversation isn't as difficult as I have imagined. I know more about how to communicate with women now," Dai said.

It's the third speed dating the university has held since they began last March.

Different results

Some found true love and others couldn't.

Shu Man, 25, a second-year grad student at Liberal Arts of Hunan Normal University in Changsha, met her boyfriend Yang Miao, 23, a second-year chemical grad student at a speed date held at Yang's school last March.

"I just wanted to have a try. At the dating, I knew that Yang was from my hometown, which gave us more in common to talk about," Shu said.

"I hope I could find a boyfriend before graduation. An older age is not an advantage when you're looking for Mr Right."

Their relationship has developed well. She and Yang plan to meet each other's parents in the near future, which means they are closer to marriage.

But it was less happy for others. Some couples broke up several months after learning more about each other, according to Di.

Pros and cons

Sociologists think speed dating is a good way for mature students to learn more about relationships and prepare for future marriage.

"It's helpful for students to learn to socialize well. Chineseculture highlights building families and older students are anxious about marriage. He who strikes first gains the advantage otherwise good candidates will be seized by others," said Li Yinhe, a sociologist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

However, some education experts don't advocate campus speed dating.

"Speed dating is a group action, which easily influence other students. If students fail in their relationship, they will get frustrated. Once they begin a relationship, they put all of their energy into that and their studies suffer," Wang Hongcai, an education professor at Xiamen University, Fujian Province, told the Global Times.

Speed dating also hampers the mission of the university, which should create knowledge, develop critical thinking and healthy personalities. A full-developed and well-educated person will have more chances and abilities to develop a mature relationship, Wang said.

Source: Global Times(By Wen Ya)


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