Dating before college

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For example, when Erika Peña took Cronin’s class in 2008, she asked one of her guyfriends, Jared, to join her for ice cream not far from campus.

The two of them knew each other through mutual friends and would frequently see one another at parties, but hadn’t spent one-on-one time together — until the dating assignment.

Because hookup culture has become so dominant on college campuses, Cronin says, going on a date has become “a weirdly countercultural thing to do.” Cronin still gives a version of this assignment, which used to be mandatory but is now just for extra credit.

On campus she’s become known as the “dating professor,” but you don’t need to be a Boston College student to reap her wisdom: There are numerous You Tube videos of her preaching her relationship gospel, and a documentary about the campus phenomenon she’s created is showing in select theaters on Tuesday.

She created the assignment after learning that many of her seniors were about to graduate and had never been on a first date.

(Our own Washington Post Date Lab bears this out; the column recently set up a 24-year-old woman with a 23-year-old man who’d never been on a dinner date and didn’t know how to engage in conversation with a stranger.) Plus, even in the real world, there are no dating rules anymore.

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Dating does not include listings for all dating sites.They went out a few more times, but graduation was nearing and Peña had a job lined up in New York City.“At 20, I wasn’t necessarily thinking I’m looking for something serious.” But they continued dating for several years before getting engaged back at the ice cream shop where they had their first date.All of which are why students are so intrigued and clueless about how to go about this assignment.So Cronin gives guidelines: The student has to ask in person (“texting is the devil; stop it,” she says in one of her You Tube videos), and the recipient has to know it’s a date.

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