Five first date tips for the broke college freshman

So you’re a new college freshman, and you’ve just found the love of your life.

Maybe he was that cute guy at the bar who bought you a drink, or that fun girl you danced with at a party, or just that hot RA who’s been catching your eye for weeks now.

Either way, you just know that you’ll date and fall in love and marry and have kids. Spoiler alert, you probably won’t, but still! It’s great life experience to go on dates and make a connection with somebody, especially when you’re a new person in a new place.

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But you don’t have much cash to spend. You’re currently surviving on microwavable meals, potato chips, and coffee. Not to mention student loan debt if you’re from the U.S. So, here are the five best date tips for a broke student like you:

City Parks:

Your local city park is your best friend in the world. Getting out into nature on a beautiful day makes for a great environment to become well-acquainted with your date. You can break out that blanket your grandma knitted for you and lay down in the grass for a nice picnic. The cost of some wine, cheese, and crackers will be far less than what you’d pay at a restaurant and without all the hassle of reservations, dress codes, and noise. An image gif source


If you live near a university, there’s definitely more than a few museums nearby, most of which will offer free or discounted tickets for students. Museums offer so many possibilities for cute moments. At an art museum, you can both look at the same piece and come up with your most silly ideas for what meaning it holds. At a science museum, you can interact with exhibits and have wholesome fun. Many people think of elementary school field trips when they think of museums, but on a date, this can be a helpful little bit of nostalgia and encourage conversations about childhoods and other deep topics. An image gif source

University Events:

One of the best first dates I ever went on was at my college slam poetry night. It was awful poetry, but so much fun to make jokes with my date and laugh about the overly dramatic pieces. Chances are good that your college has something like this, or a dance show, or an acapella performance, or a multitude of other events that offer ample time to spend time with your date and discuss whatever you’re watching.
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Now now, I know what you’re saying, “Cameron, dinner and a movie is everybody’s suggestion for a first date.” Yes, this is true, and going to the cinema is actually a terrible first date, because you sit in silence for two hours. A great first date is watching a movie in an apartment, particularly a scary one or even better, a terrible one. In the comfort of your own home, you don’t have to pay exorbitant prices, you don’t have to be quiet, and you’re free to talk over the movie and make fun conversation. An image gif source

Night Walks Around Campus:

This is the most simple, but perhaps the most memorable. Somewhere on your campus is a quiet, scenic, and romantic area. If you don’t know of one, look harder. There’s some installation near the art school, or some rooftop, or some lakeside bench, which serves as a the perfect location to sit and learn more about your date. When in doubt, keep it simple. An image gif source

Now, you’ll notice all five of these have much in common. They’re all short and sweet, and most importantly, cheap. But each of them also emphasizes the most important part of a first date--forming a connection. You can’t do that without a lot of conversation, and if you can’t have a lot of conversation with your date, then it probably wasn’t meant to be.

I know it’s hard now, but try to take away all your lofty expectations you might have for a first date. Simplify. Talk about your family, your hopes, your dreams, your pet peeves. And who knows, maybe thirty years from now you can tell your kids your first date was just a simple walk around campus.

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