Alex Solano is one of many students hoping to find their first love in college. So far, looking for prospects is difficult. Being a freshman, Solano believes that he has not been in college long enough to find a girlfriend.
For students who gave up on love in high school, they might be disappointed when they try to find love at Chapman. Like Solano, many Chapman students struggle to find and maintain romantic relationships. There are opportunities to find a special someone at the dorms, cafeteria or Chapman events, said Solano. However, students find Chapman’s small campus and community size to be a complicated dating environment because everyone knows each other.
According to the Office of Admission, Chapman currently has 4,086 undergraduate students with an average class size of 20 to 25 students. Solano’s alma mater, Deer Valley High School in Antioch, Calif, has almost the same community size as Chapman. For Solano, this makes Chapman feel just like his small high school where he saw the same people every day. For some, Chapman’s small sized community, ideal for academics, is not ideal for developing romantic relationships.
According to senior Graeme Olsen, Chapman is not a good environment to have a relationship. Olsen believed that he would find his special someone in college because that is what he saw in television shows, like “Saved by the Bell,” while growing up. After dating more than 30 women, only four became his girlfriends. Currently single, Olsen feels too claustrophobic at Chapman to pursue any romantic relationship, he said.
“Chapman is too small, especially since all the girls are in a sorority,” said Olsen. “I’m already plagued by two [sororities].”
Not only does Chapman not have enough women, but its size also makes maintaining relationships much harder, said Olsen. He was shocked to find out how fast gossip traveled. At times, his girlfriend at the time would become jealous of other women he was just friends with. Most often, Olsen did not know that the woman he was dating had a sour history with one of his friends.
“It is so easy to screw up things here,” said Olsen. “I’ve become callused because of Chapman.”
According to Bernard McGrane, associate professor of sociology, size may not be an issue. In his class, Getting Love Right: Romantic Relationships in Contemporary Society, he teaches about college students having too high expectations on finding romantic relationships in college. These expectations are influenced from issues besides class size. However, since he is not personally involved with the scene at Chapman, he says that Chapman would not be any different from a larger school like UC Irvine.
“Sometimes we pay more attention to the allusions of love so people tend to pay attention to that instead of building the relationship,” said McGrane.
Not focusing on these allusions helps. Sophomore Alex Angst met her current boyfriend, sophomore Andre Enoiu, as a freshman at Chapman. Because Chapman is small, Enoiu and Angst constantly saw each other and noticed their grades plummeting because they focused time on their relationship rather than school. However, spending time apart during interterm and summer helped the couple focus on other priorities.
“It is easy for me to spend more time away … because I developed more faith and trust,” said Angst.
For senior Patrick Shiroishi, he did not expect to find his current girlfriend, sophomore Nana Sakaeda. He never tried looking for love at Chapman. It was luck, he said. The two met at a party, and bonded while taking care of a drunken mutual friend. For Shiroishi, Chapman’s campus size is convenient. Maintaining a relationship is hard with school and work, he said. Chapman’s small size helps him to see Sakaeda more often. At the end of a long workday, this makes time to spend together easy.
“We make time to see each other whether it be in the afternoon or midnight Taco Bell runs,” said Shiroishi.
Even with Shiroishi’s luck, the dating scene is rough at Chapman. Yet, Solano is willing to find that special someone. He understands that he is only been at Chapman for one semester, so he has seven more semesters to find his first love.
“It’s better to have that hope rather than being pessimistic,” said Solano. “Then, you’ll be prepared when it does happen.”